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Detroit Lions rumors: Examining an alternate path to bringing Brian Burns aboard



To address their pressing need for a formidable edge rusher to complement Aidan Hutchinson this offseason, the Detroit Lions must thoroughly explore all available options.

Acquiring a proven edge rusher is undoubtedly a costly endeavor for the Lions. They need to carefully evaluate the expenses against potential risks while ensuring an optimal fit based on their priorities. If the Lions decide to make a significant move to secure an edge rusher, the ideal candidate would be a blend of skill, experience, and youth.

One standout option among the top free-agent edge rushers is Brian Burns. At 25 years old (turning 26 on April 23), Burns boasts an impressive track record with at least 7.5 sacks in each of his five seasons. His potential unrealized upside, coupled with the apparent lack of progress in long-term contract negotiations with the Carolina Panthers, makes him an intriguing target.

While the Panthers retain the option to franchise tag Burns for another year, there is speculation about a potential tag-and-trade scenario. Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated suggests that the lack of agreement on a long-term deal between Burns and the Panthers could open the door to such a trade.

In November, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported the Panthers’ intention to franchise tag Burns. A tag-and-trade approach could facilitate the Lions’ pursuit of Burns, offering a more straightforward path to acquiring the edge rusher without committing to a long-term deal immediately. This strategy might broaden the list of interested teams, even if it results in only a one-year rental.

Armed with ample cap space, the Lions could consider parting with their late-first-round pick to secure Burns. Over The Cap’s projections estimate a franchise tag cost of $23.348 million for a defensive end in 2024, fully guaranteed if applied to Burns. Spotrac suggests a market value of $21.7 million per year for Burns, making a long-term deal within the Lions’ financial reach.

Should the Lions opt for an aggressive move to address their edge rusher needs, Burns could emerge as their top target. If the Panthers choose to franchise tag him with the intent of entertaining trade offers, this alternative path to acquiring him should not be overlooked.

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