This Panthers’ Decision Ruled One Of The Worst Of NFL Offseason

Carolina Panthers
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers made a couple of big additions this offseason, signing edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney in free agency and swinging a trade for wide receiver Diontae Johnson.

However, they also made one major subtraction: defensive end Brian Burns.

The Panthers dealt Burns to the New York Giants, receiving a 2024 second-round draft pick, a swap of fifth-rounders and a 2025 fifth-round selection.

That came after Carolina reportedly turned down an offer of two first-round draft choices from the Los Angeles Rams at the trade deadline last October.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay has ruled this move one of the worst ones of the NFL offseason.

It’s not so much that the Panthers traded Burns that bothers Kay. It’s what they got in return for him, especially when you consider what they could have received midseason.

Burns is coming off of a 2023 campaign in which he played 16 games and registered 50 tackles, eight sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

As bad as Carolina was this past season, finishing a league-worst 2-15, it actually ranked fourth in the league in yards allowed, and Burns was a big reason for that.

The 25-year-old, who played his collegiate football at Florida State, was selected by the Panthers with the 16th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Burns got off to a solid start, recording 25 tackles and 7.5 sacks during his rookie season. He followed that up by posting 58 tackles and nine sacks in his sophomore year, and in 2021 and 2022, Burns made back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances. In the latter campaign, he racked up 63 tackles and 12.5 sacks in what has been the best season of his career to date.

The Panthers knew they weren’t going to be able to pay Burns, so they certainly would have been better off moving him back in October. They clearly weren’t contending, so it’s hard to comprehend why Carolina didn’t move him when it had to know that it wasn’t going to retain him long term.

For a rebuilding squad like the Panthers that needs all the draft capital it can get, not trading Burns when it had the chance is certainly a decision Carolina will end up regretting.

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