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Panthers put franchise tag on pass rusher Brian Burns ahead of deadline

The Panthers gave defensive end Brian Burns the franchise tag. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Panthers gave defensive end Brian Burns the franchise tag. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brian Burns and the Carolina Panthers might not be best friends at the moment, but they'll be together a little longer.

Burns, an excellent pass rusher with 46 career sacks, was given the franchise tag ahead of Tuesday afternoon's deadline, the Panthers announced. It's a non-exclusive tag for Burns, meaning Burns can negotiate with other teams. The tag price is $24 million for the 2024 season, according to NFL Media.

The Panthers have been reluctant to trade Burns, but they also haven't given him the long-term deal he seeks.

Carolina, which reportedly turned down two first-round picks and a second-round pick from the Los Angeles Rams for Burns in 2022 and didn't trade Burns before the deadline last year, clearly wants to hold onto him. He has at least 7.5 sacks in every one of his five NFL seasons. He was a first-round pick of the Panthers in 2019 and one of the team's few stars.

But finding a common ground for a contract has been tough. At the NFL scouting combine last week, CBS Sports' Josina Anderson reported that the Panthers had stopped contract talks with Burns. The Panthers can continue to negotiate with Burns now that he has the tag, but clearly the two sides are far apart.

The rejected Rams trade lingers. The Panthers don't want to lose Burns after passing up that type of haul in a trade. Burns likely understands the leverage he has because of that. It will also be interesting to see if Burns plays on the franchise tag if a long-term deal can't be reached, or if he holds out. The Panthers could also look into finally trading Burns.

The relationship with the Panthers and Burns isn't great right now. But it's not over yet.