CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa held out this summer, Brian Burns participated in nearly all the Carolina Panthers’ preseason practices even while the two-time Pro Bowler was in negotiations over his own contract extension. Until Thursday.
Dressed in workout gear, Burns watched while his teammates went through their final practice before a Labor Day weekend break. Panthers coach Frank Reich said Burns sat out for personal reasons but declined to say whether it was related to his contract.
“I’ll just refer that to Brian. It isn’t possible for me to have more respect than I do for Brian. That’s his personal matter,” Reich said. “And secondly as a matter of policy, that’s not my role to talk about contracts even if that’s what it was.”
Teammates said Burns attended position meetings Thursday and was engaged with them before practice. But Burns, 25, was not in the locker room during the 45-minute window it was open to media members.
Burns, Carolina’s first-round pick in 2019, is set to make $16 million this season after the Panthers picked up his fifth-year option. He said in June he wants a deal that puts him among the highest-paid edge rushers in the NFL. Burns is likely waiting to see what happens with Bosa, who is expected to receive a contract worth at least $30 million per year.
Reich and others have praised Burns for showing up to training camp. Though Burns did not play in any preseason games, the only practices he missed before Thursday were for veteran days off. Aaron Rodgers was impressed with Burns during the New York Jets’ joint practices with the Panthers, telling Burns he deserved an extension.
There were some cool moments, though. Like Aaron Rodgers thanking Brian Burns for not playing in the exhibition and wishing him luck w/ his contract extension, telling him he deserves it. pic.twitter.com/lOxNQOA6Zm
— Joe Person (@josephperson) August 16, 2023
Carolina cornerback Donte Jackson feels the same way.
“At the end of the day, this is a good situation to be in if you’re him,” Jackson said. “We all know the type of caliber player he is. We’re all praying that he get his but we’re not going to overwhelm him with it. We’re just gonna let the business take care of the business because the good players like him — the great players — they get taken care of.”
(Photo: Kevin Sabitus / Getty Images)