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The Carolina Panthers are still in ongoing negotiations with Brian Burns, and expected to use the franchise tag to continue those negotiations. The team, according to The Athletic, is expected to tag the linebacker prior to the March 5 deadline and guarantee him his 2024 salary. 

The Panthers need to work out a long-term deal with Burns, and the franchise tag will buy them more time. Burns and the Panthers reached an impasse in contract negotiations this past season as he was seeking a deal with an average annual value of $30 million. The Panthers were reportedly willing to go up to $27 million per season on a five-year deal, which would have been $135 million in total value. Only the 49ers' Nick Bosa ($34 million) and Steelers' T.J. Watt ($28 million) would have been paid more on an average annual salary than Burns. 

Carolina could place the exclusive tag to prohibit Burns from negotiating with other teams, or use the non-exclusive tag so he can negotiate with other teams. The Panthers can either match an offer or decline and receive two first-round picks in return if they decline to match. 

Burns would receive a guaranteed salary of $22.3 million, coming off a season which he finished with 40 pressures, eight sacks, 18 quarterback hits and a 11.1% pressure rate. Burns, who played defensive end in previous seasons, lined up as an outside linebacker for the majority of snaps last season -- making him eligible for a linebacker's salary if tagged. 

The non-exclusive tag would pay defensive ends $20.2 million. Because Burns played outside linebacker last season, he is essentially getting a $2.1 million bump in pay with the tag. 

Carolina will get more time to work out a long-term deal with Burns, which is why placing the tag on him would make sense. The last time the Panthers used the franchise tag was on Taylor Moton in 2021, and both sides were able to work out a long-term deal.