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Rams will be watching this edge rusher once again on the trade market

Could Brian Burns be available in a trade this season?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

There’s little doubt that the Los Angeles Rams are in heavy need of an edge rusher on defense. With Michael Hoecht who transitioned to edge at the end of last year and rookie Byron Young, there are serious questions as to whether or not the Rams will be able to generate edge pressure.

In all likelihood, the Rams will be waiting to fill that void next offseason when they have cap space and players like Joshua Uche, Chase Young, etc. could potentially hit the free agent market. That doesn’t mention the prospect of having the opportunity to draft Florida State’s Jared Verse. With that said, general manager Les Snead has not been shy about guaranteeing that he gets his guy on the trade market. He did this in 2019 when the Rams traded for Jalen Ramsey.

There is one situation over the course of the early weeks of the season that the Rams and Snead may have a close eye on to see how the situation develops. On Tuesday, MMQB’s Albert Breer wrote that Carolina Panthers edge rusher has missed the past two practices and it is contract related. Here’s what Breer had to say,

“Brian Burns has missed the Panthers’ past two practices, and I’ll just say it’s fair to assume, with Carolina remaining mum on the situation, it’s tied to his contract situation...First, there’s the matter of Burns’s leverage, which comes down to his own knowledge of what Carolina turned down for him on the trade market last October. Second, there’s the presence of Bosa’s negotiation, which could be one reason for Burns to slow play talks a little...That said, if Bosa moves the market, it’d make it easier for Burns to say he deserves what, say, T.J. Watt got in Pittsburgh (four years, $112 million). And that’d be helpful for a guy whose contract comp, if you look at the stats side by side, might be Maxx Crosby ($24.745 million per year in Las Vegas).”

Now, this very notable and a situation worth monitoring given what the Rams almost gave up to get Burns last season. At the trade deadline, it was widely reported that Los Angeles offered first-round picks in 2024 and 2025 along with a 2023 third-rounder. The Rams are probably glad that they didn’t pay that price given where they are at now.

With that said, given that they would have the cap space to pay Burns a contract that he wants, in addition to having immediate draft capital once again, would the Rams make a phone call about Burns’ availability?

The Rams have their eyes set on 2025 as the timeline to be back and make a final push at a Super Bowl with the current core. Trading for Burns would speed up the development process of drafting a young player like Verse if LA is in that position. Additionally, if the Rams were looking at addressing the position on the free agent market next offseason, a trade for Burns guarantees that they get the player that they want.

Where this gets complicated is whether or not the Panthers would take that call or part ways with Burns. Said Breer,

“There’s the fact that Carolina has a new coaching staff, and investment from the locker room is important as a result of that. And along those lines, other guys are watching how the team handles Burns. Do I think Burns will miss Sunday’s opener? No. But skipping practice does give everyone a look at how things look without him in Ejiro Evero’s new defense, and that can, for sure, have an effect on things. Now, the good news is the Panthers would like to get something done, and Burns had a great camp, and an artificial deadline is looming (Week 1). Stay tuned.”

The Panthers have more than enough cap space to pay Burns if that’s something that they want to do. Given what they’ve turned down in the past in trade offers for their star edge rusher, they clearly value him and see him as a building block for their future.

Still, it’s a situation worth monitoring. If Burns heads into the season without a contract, that will be a notable development. Following Week 6, if the Rams are 3-3 and the Panthers are sit at 2-4 or 1-5, would that be a situation that pushes a deal over the line?