Brian Burns has been one of the most productive pass rushers in the NFL over the past four seasons.
Now the outside linebacker for the Carolina Panthers wants to get paid like that.
“Yes,” Burns said matter-of-factly with a laugh when asked if that was his wish.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM
Burns is set to make $16 million in the final season of his five-year rookie contract, but the Panthers are still hoping to sign him to a long-term extension. Whether or not that happens before the season remains to be seen.
“We’re having talks,” Burns said Tuesday at the team’s minicamp. “That’s the most I can say about it.”
Burns has 38 sacks in four seasons with Carolina, the 11th-most in the NFL over that span. That’s still far behind the 57 1/2 sacks of Pittsburgh’s TJ Watt, who set a new monetary standard for pass rushers when he signed a four-year, $112 million contract in 2021.
Burns is unlikely to win that much from the Panthers, but he’s clearly a player on the rise.
At just 25 years old, he is coming off a 12 1/2 sack season in 2022 despite routinely double-teaming and playing on a team that trailed in most games, limiting his opportunities to hit opposing quarterbacks in obvious pressure situations.
BILLS’ STEFON DIGGS PUBLISHES CRYPTIC MESSAGE AMID CONFUSION OVER NO PRACTICE
In fact, Burns has never played on a winning team since joining the league.
He’ll transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s new 3-4 scheme, which could give him more opportunities to pick his spots to attack the quarterback.
Burns said Tuesday that his goal is to have at least 10 sacks in the first 10 games.
It is the first time in his career that he has made his personal goals public. But, like moving from No. 53 to 0 this season, he quipped “there’s a lot of new stuff here.”
Burns has been eager to get on the field after missing all OTAs and minicamp while rehabbing from offseason ankle surgery. The Panthers expect Burns to be 100% by the start of training camp in six weeks.
Meanwhile, he’s been serving as a mentor to the team’s younger pass-rushers, often pulling them aside during practice to give them advice.
JOE BURROW OPENLY ADMITS PATRICK MAHOMES IS THE BEST QB IN THE NFL: ‘I DON’T THINK THERE IS ANY ARGUMENT’
“He’s a phenomenal leader and he’s been totally involved,” Panthers coach Frank Reich said. “In the meeting room, on the practice field, he’s totally focused. And he’s progressing well physically. We expect him not only to be a great player on the field, but also a great leader.”
Reich said that despite the change in position, he doesn’t think Burns’ role will change much.
Burns also fell into coverage at times last season under former defensive coordinator Phil Shaw’s defensive scheme at defensive end.
“What I’m learning about him, like most great players, is that he’s a very smart footballer,” Reich said. “So that allows us to do different things with him. Sure, we mainly want (him) to rush the passer. But it allows us to do other things … We’ll see how that all plays out.”
Burns repeated Tuesday what he’s said all along: that he wants to stay with the Panthers, the team that selected him 16th overall in the 2019 draft out of Florida State.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
While he hopes for a long-term contract, he said it will happen when it does.
“I’m blessed to even be in that talk (about the highest-paid pass-rushers) and have that opportunity,” Burns said. “Right now I’m enjoying the process and everything that comes with it.”
INJURIES: Safety Vonn Bell (hamstring) and rookie guard Chandler Zavala (pectoral) were unable to attend minicamp following recent injuries. Reich said veteran cornerback Donte Jackson, who tore his Achilles tendon last year, should be ready for training camp.