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Panthers place franchise tag on LB Brian Burns

Dave Canales won't start his head-coaching tenure in Carolina by losing a star pass rusher.

The Panthers have placed the franchise tag on linebacker Brian Burns, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday, the deadline for teams to use a tag. Carolina has since announced the news.

Burns' one-year tag will cost $24.007 million, a steep price to prevent the two-time Pro Bowler from testing greener pastures in free agency.

Carolina and Burns now have until mid-July to either come to a long-term agreement or potentially settle on a modified one-year deal, as running backs Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs did last offseason.

Otherwise, Burns will play 2024 under the shadow of the tag -- assuming he signs it.

Last preseason, Burns initially showed up to training camp and participated despite favoring security over going into the campaign on his fifth-year rookie option with no buffer behind it. He later attempted to flex his leverage by sitting out a string of practices as the calendar turned to September and remaining non-committal on suiting up for the regular-season opener.

Cooler heads did prevail, albeit in the absence of an extension, which has necessitated Carolina to slap another Band-Aid on the situation in the form of a one-year solution.

The Panthers were ripped through on defense last season on the way to allowing the 29th-most points in the NFL, but even if he didn't reach the same heights as years past, Burns was far from culpable.

He led the unit in sacks for a second straight year with 8.0 and added 18 quarterback hits, 16 tackles for loss, two passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Entering his age-26 season, Burns now has 46 sacks in his career. He's also proven durable, never missing more than a game in any of his five years of NFL experience.

That doesn't mean his playing on the tag comes without risk. Injury can obviously strike at any time, and Burns has now been hoping for extra security in the lead-up to two seasons.

He remains a Panther on a pricy franchise tag for now.

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