Analysts Say $13 Million Defender With ‘Elite Get-Off’ Can Fit Rams

Aaron Donald

Getty Could Aaron Donald and the Rams get defensive help after Week 6?

Could the upcoming Week 6 contest between the Carolina Panthers and the Los Angeles Rams serve as a closet audition for the latter team?

In other words, is this non-division matchup at SoFi Stadium on Sunday, October 16 a chance for the Rams to see who on the other side could be worth trading for…and if the Panthers are indeed going to put some of their players on the trade market before the 2022 NFL trade deadline?

Carolina is entering the “Rams House” without Matt Rhule for the first time since before the 2020 season, as the Panthers fired their head coach after nearly three seasons. Rhule, who turned Temple and Baylor into college football bowl contenders, never took Carolina to the playoffs. Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks is taking over.

And with the head coaching change comes speculation of a roster blow up. Already, prized 2019 All-Pro Christian McCaffrey is gaining popularity as a trade candidate with the Buffalo Bills linked to him and Rams color analyst/NFL Network’s Maurice Jones-Drew listing four teams that could fit him. Wide receiver D.J. Moore is another name that bears watching, mentioned in this Heavy on Rams story.

But now, multiple analysts including Rams reporters have the belief that one prominent member of the Panther defense can be a strong fit.

$13 Million Defender With ‘Elite Get-Off’

Defensive end Brian Burns has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate for Carolina.

Burns, 24, is among the Panthers’ Pro Bowl talents Rhule bequeaths. In 2019, Carolina took him as the 16th overall pick out of Florida State after “possessing an elite get-off” as written by draft expert Lance Zierlein. The then 6-foot-5, 249-pounder was even compared to Rams star edge rusher Leonard Floyd.

Since then, Burns has become a nine-sack threat or higher for the Panthers — posting back-to-back seasons of hitting that sack number including his Pro Bowl season of last year.

Burns currently is on a four-year, $13,540,182 contract with a base salary of $2,341,389 this season per Spotrac. But again, there are those who believe Burns can blend in inside the “Rams House.”

Who Believes Burns can Appeal to the Rams

Jake Ellenbogen of Downtown Rams is one who is pounding the table for “Keep Pounding” nation to give away Burns to the Rams. He took to Twitter to deliver this bold prediction including adding the fate of a past $90 million star wide receiver on the free agent market.

“I’m calling it now. No more analyzing…Rams will end up with Brian Burns & Odell Beckham Jr. when it’s all said and done. Remember I said that,” Ellenbogen boldly predicted.

Meanwhile, Rams beat reporter Gilbert Manzano of the Orange County Register posted this theory:

Sterling Bennett of 95.7 FM The Game in the Bay Area is already a believer the Rams will make a pursuit of Burns.

Lastly, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic wrote this prediction down in her Wednesday, October 12 feature:

“It would be stunning to see the Rams stand pat here,” Rodrigue wrote regarding if the Rams will be active on November 1.

While the former Charlotte Observer Panthers reporter sees a scenario where running back becomes a need (though she believes McCaffrey wouldn’t be a responsible trade unless Carolina picks up his salary), she’s another who mentioned Burns’ name.

“They could keep their 2024 first rounder, or they could try to use it to bring in outside linebacker Brian Burns,” Rodrigue writes.

Can Burns be a Prime Fit?

From a potential standpoint, it becomes easy to see why Burns and the Rams are a strong pairing if it happens.

Burns is disruptive and knows how to use his reported 4.53 40-yard dash time to his advantage. But even with a towering frame, he’s shown a knack for sinking his hips and penetrating to the quarterback — as seen here versus the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5:

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He’s freakishly quick the moment he sees a gap open up:

He even dropped one of the hardest QBs to take down by themselves Josh Allen here with this close and finish:

Just imagine Burns on a defense that would pair him next to Aaron Donald, have him opposite of Floyd and have Bobby Wagner and fellow FSU standout Jalen Ramsey behind him. It becomes a potential migraine headache for offensive coordinators if all indeed come together.

However, the dilemma is the money aspect. His base salary in 2023 jumps to $16,012,000. There may not be many teams, including the Rams, who would be willing to take on that kind of salary. Carolina may consider holding on to Burns for that reason, or to also sell the eventual replacement for Rhule as a cornerstone to build around for the future.

But like Moore and the others in the teal, silver and black, Burns’ Charlotte stay bears watching. And the Rams are linked to him.

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