Brian Burns’ desire for a long-term contract was made known as Week 1 approached, but the Carolina Panthers’ star pass rusher is solely focused maintaining his elite status now that the 2023 season is underway.
“We haven’t really been in talks,” Burns told reporters Saturday, via ESPN’s David Newton. “I told them once the season started, I’m all about ball. I can’t give a thousand percent on the field and to my teammates if I’m still worried about contract negotiations. I feel like I owe that to them to be 100 percent, a thousand percent at all times.”
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Burns turned in a great performance that exemplified his worth in Week 1 against the Falcons, recording two sacks, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a QB hit. The two-time Pro Bowler played in 46 out of the team’s 48 defensive snaps in the defeat, per Next Gen Stats, which clarified any questions of his standing with the team.
Burns’ status ahead of the season opener was uncertain due to his contract dispute with the club. As Week 1 approached, he saw 49ers pass rusher Nick Bosa agree to terms on a five-year, $170 million extension, the latest contract to fall in line with the annual salaries of fellow elite pass rushers like T.J. Watt (around $28 million), Joey Bosa ($27 million), Myles Garrett ($25 million) and Khalil Mack ($23.5 million), per Over The Cap.
As Carolina is set to host the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, Burns is looking to take advantage of the spotlight with contract talks “on hold” and aims to once again prove he deserves to be paid among his contemporaries.
“In these prime-time games, everybody’s watching,” he said. “It’s always a goal to show them what you can do and put the league on notice. But I want to put the league on notice more from a defensive standpoint than just myself. I want them to know how we are on defense.”
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