New York Giants Trade for Carolina Panthers Edge Rusher Brian Burns

The opening of the legal tampering window has seen some massive transactions in the NFL today, but none are bigger than a trade between the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Giants are acquiring two-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Brian Burns in exchange for second and fifth-round picks.

Per Rapoport, the deal comes with an extension for Burns that is worth a maximum of $150 million over five years. That makes Burns the second-highest-paid edge rusher in the league, behind only San Francisco 49ers 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa.

It's a massive, aggressive move for the Giants, particularly considering they were one of the worst teams in the NFL last year and don't have many causes for optimism. At the very least, Burns should prove an imposing compliment to promising edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who has amassed 15.5 sacks over 31 starts since being drafted fifth overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. The pair should be the best set of pass rushers the Giants have fielded since Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Osi Umenyiora helped them win a Super Bowl way back in 2011. 

Whether the rest of the team will be good enough for that pass rush to matter remains to be seen. The Giants were a disaster in 2022, finishing with the third-worst point differential in the league (-141) and stumbling to a 6-11 record. Burns is a nice player, but he won't be a huge difference-maker when it comes to their glaring weaknesses: they absorbed a genuinely baffling 85 sacks last year, 20 more than any other team in the league, and they allowed 4.7 yards per rushing attempt, 31st in the league.

As for the Panthers, they've done well in getting significant compensation for an outgoing player. As good as Burns is, they're wise to recognize he's a luxury at this point in their rebuild. Their first priority will be building up their offense enough to evaluate 2023 first-overall pick Bryce Young. They stumbled to league-worst marks in yards per game (265.3), points per game (13.9), and net yards per passing attempt (4.2) under the rookie passer, and they'll need to find out whether or not he's a lost cause before they can start making any longterm commitments, even to players of Burns' calibre.

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