Panthers Trade Deadline: 3 Moves Carolina Should Make, Including a Brian Burns Decision

The NFL's only winless team, the Panthers, are clear sellers at the trade deadline. What should they do with Brian Burns, Jeremy Chinn, and other veterans?

As the NFL‘s only winless team entering Week 8, the Carolina Panthers look like obvious sellers at the Oct. 31 trade deadline. While some reports have indicated the Panthers could target a wide receiver to complement Bryce Young, pass catchers like Jerry Jeudy and Marquise Brown seem to be trending toward staying put ahead of Tuesday’s cutoff.

Instead, let’s turn to the defensive side of the ball, where Carolina has a bevy of young, productive, and versatile players who could be available on the trade market over the next several days. Here’s how the Panthers should handle the deadline.

Carolina Panthers Trade Deadline Moves

Don’t Sell Low on Brian Burns

Brian Burns was a popular trade candidate at least year’s deadline, but the Panthers ultimately held onto the pass rusher despite receiving an offer of two first-round picks and a second-round choice from the Los Angeles Rams.

News of L.A.’s rejected proposal gave Burns tremendous leverage in contract negotiations as he entered the final year of his rookie deal, so it might not have been surprising that Carolina didn’t reach an agreement on a long-term pact with the former first-round pick.

MORE: Jaguars Should Look To Acquire Chase Young and Brian Burns at Trade Deadline

If the Panthers could get that package for Burns at the 2023 deadline, they should take it. But now that Burns is just a few months away from free agency, Carolina’s potential return probably won’t be as significant.

General manager Scott Fitterer may have already made a decision on Burns, as ESPN’s Dan Graziano recently reported teams are being told the 25-year-old is not available. Joe Person of The Athletic indicated the “sense around the league” is that the Panthers won’t trade Burns.

Assuming Burns stays put, Carolina can still work to extend him. A five-year, $125 million contract with $95 million in total guarantees would make Burns the NFL’s fourth-highest-paid edge rusher and comfortably top Bradley Chubb’s deal with the Miami Dolphins in every contractual metric.

Trade CB Donte Jackson

While Burns can be a part of the Panthers’ long-term plan, a slightly older player like cornerback Donte Jackson (28 next week) might make more sense as a trade chip.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated identified Jackson as a trade candidate as early as Week 4, and Carolina is still believed to be willing to move the veteran DB.

An acquiring team would absorb roughly $1.56 million of Jackson’s contract for the remainder of the season, a bargain for a corner of his caliber. They would then hold what would amount to a one-year, $10.5 million team option for 2024.

The San Francisco 49ers are looking for a CB at the trade deadline, per The Athletic’s Dianna Russini. Jackson worked under current 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks last season when Wilks was the Panthers’ DC before being promoted to interim head coach.

Send LB Frankie Luvu to the Bills

We’ve already suggested one trade that could ship pending free agent Frankie Luvu to the Buffalo Bills, where he’d help replace fellow linebacker Matt Milano.

MORE: Carolina Panthers Depth Chart

How about a deal that involves Luvu and Jackson, who would fill the cornerback void created when Tre’Davious White suffered a season-ending Achilles injury?

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Saturday that Bills CB Kaiir Elam — a 2022 first-round pick that has fallen down Buffalo’s defensive depth chart and hasn’t played a snap in six of the club’s eight games — is generating interest ahead of the trade deadline.

While the win-now Bills might not have time to wait for Elam to develop, the Panthers do. Carolina can envision Elam forming a long-term CB tandem with 2021 first-round choice Jaycee Horn, assuming the latter can stay healthy.

Let’s send Luvu, Jackson, and a 2024 seventh-round pick to the Bills for Elam and a conditional 2024 fifth-round selection. If Jackson and Luvu both play at least 50% of Buffalo’s defensive snaps down the stretch, the fifth-round choice headed to Carolina will become a fourth-rounder.

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