Rams top man terminates his contract and reveals some reasons.

Rams top man terminates his contract and reveals some reasons.

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Before the 2022 deadline, one of the biggest trade hypotheticals during this NFL era happened when the Panthers rejected a huge offer for Brian Burns from the Rams. The Panthers suffered as a result of the unsuccessful pursuit, while the Rams entered a retooling mode and became more interested in rookie contracts as their defense for the Super Bowl LVI title went off course.

The Pro Bowl edge rusher essentially held the unsuccessful trade against the Panthers, who rejected an offer that turned out to be significantly better than the one they ultimately accepted from the Giants. Serious Carolina-Burns extension talks did not begin until 2023. For Burns, Los Angeles offered two first-round picks and a third; in the end, Carolina took a second-round pick and a fifth-round trade from New York.

Albert Breer of SI.com reports that after the Panthers turned down the Rams’ offer in October 2022, the conversational tone between him and Carolina did not change. Burns would have been the next edge player traded to Los Angeles at a trade deadline, joining Von Miller and Dante Fowler, but the Carolina edge was in a position to be extended. Though it’s unclear if the Rams and the Panthers had a deal set to go, Burns’ asking price proved to be too much. The Rams would have distanced that potential deal from the Miller and Fowler swaps if they had acquired a 25-year-old Pro Bowl player. Miller was in his age-32 season when the Rams acquired him, and Fowler had not produced to Burns’ level.

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Talks did not begin until June 2023, despite rumors that the Panthers were getting ready for a Burns deal during the 2022 summer. When talks finally became serious, then-GM Scott Fitterer—who had gained authority following Matt Rhule’s ouster in October 2022—had turned down the Rams’ offer and prevented their best player from being traded to the Bears in March 2023, which sent Carolina the No. 1 overall pick.

The Bears inquired on Burns and Derrick Brown before turning their focus to D.J. Moore. Burns had another what-if after the Bears acquired the Commanders defensive end at the 2023 deadline, but his participation in those trade negotiations ultimately paid off. The Bears immediately extended Montez Sweat’s contract.

Prior to the 49ers signing $34MM-AAV Nick Bosa, Burns had been pursuing a deal in the $30MM per year range. Given the disparity in Bosa’s and Burns’ accomplishments, it made sense for the Panthers to object to offering the Ron Rivera-era draft pick a contract that would have exceeded T.J. Watt’s then-OLB record. Teams inquired about Burns around the 2023 trade deadline as well, but the Rams’ decisions were not thought to be particularly close to the offers made.

The Giants gained from the impasse arising from the unsuccessful Rams trade negotiations, as new general manager Dan Morgan and former colleague Joe Schoen connected on a deal in March. Burns was acquired for a package resembling the one they received in exchange for Leonard Williams. The franchise-tagged edge rusher signed a five-year, $141MM contract with a $76MM signing bonus. Among edge defenders, Burns, 26, is ranked in the top four in terms of AAV, total guarantees, and full guarantees. For the time being, his contract and Kayvon Thibodeaux’s rookie agreement overlap.

Brown has subsequently been extended by Carolina, but Burns and Moore, the team’s cornerstones, are now gone. Bryce Young’s disappointing debut campaign in 2023 was partly caused by the team’s lackluster receiving corps. In Morgan’s first offseason as general manager, the squad patched together its OLB corps with free agency additions. In Charlotte, Jadeveon Clowney, D.J. Wonnum, and K’Lavon Chaisson are currently employed. Morgan will have the responsibility of locating an OLB pillar to eventually take Burns’ spot as the team does not currently appear to have one.

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