The Carolina Panthers entered the 2022 NFL trade deadline as sellers. After firing head coach Matt Rhule after Week 4, the team traded Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson as they began yet another rebuild. However, they decided not to trade Brian Burns, as they believed the defensive end to be a key part of their future. So far, Burns is doing everything he can to justify the organization’s decision.
Brian Burns A Key Piece of Carolina Panthers Rebuild
Burns was all over the field in Carolina’s 23-10 victory over the Denver Broncos. Consistently beating up the offensive line, the former first-round pick finished the night with a team-high two sacks, three quarterback hits, one tackle-for-loss, one pass defended, and three tackles. He even put a cherry on top of the whole night by having a little fun with Russell Wilson while celebrating a sack.
This performance was far from an outlier, as Burns has been fantastic throughout the entire campaign. Through 12 games of actions, Burns has recorded 10 sacks, 53 tackles, 17 quarterback hits, and 13 tackles-for-loss. He’s been playing at a Pro Bowl level and has probably been the most valuable player on the team.
Astonishingly, the Carolina Panthers and their 4-8 record are not yet out of the playoff race. Thanks to the wildly incompetent NFC South, the Panthers still have a chance to sneak into the postseason. Their schedule is favorable – as they don’t have to face another team with a wininng record. While a playoff run is still unlikely, Burns will be a key player down the line if Carolina hopes to make a magical run.
Should The Panthers Have Traded Brian Burns?
We know that Brian Burns is a great player, but everyone has a price they will willingly accept, even for that which they hoped never to sell. According to reports across the web, the Los Angeles Rams were willing to give up two first-round picks and a second-round pick to the Panthers in exchange for Burns’ services. Again, Burns is fantastic, but can you really say no to a return this good?
The Rams do not have their first-round pick in 2023, so the two first-round picks would have been for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, respectively. Not having an immediate high-level return for Burns’ services would be a hard pill to swallow, and that is probably why the Panthers said no to the deal. That being said, those two first-round picks would probably be incredibly valuable.
The Los Angeles Rams do not believe in draft picks. They haven’t had a first-round pick since the 2016 NFL Draft, and that lack of young talent is starting to show up on the field. Currently 3-8, the team features an aging roster that is only going to get worse as Matthew Stafford continues to age. The team is already facing salary cap woes and, with no way to add young talent to the roster, the Rams have no clear way to fix their issues.
There is a very real chance that both of those first-round picks end up being top-five selections. Brian Burns probably isn’t worth two top-five picks (plus the second-round pick), but if he keeps playing like this, then Panthers fans can’t be too mad about rejecting the trade.