Rams Trade Rumors: The Rams Land Brian Burns In 2023 For First Round Pick

Brian Burns was the big Rams trade rumors that got away last year (OK. maybe it was Christian McCaffrey, but don’t tell 49ers fans that.) Last season, the rumor was that the Los Angeles Rams offered two first-rounders for the Carolina Panthers edge rusher. Now, PFF’s salary cap analyst Brad Spielberger thinks that the Rams could get Burns for a fraction of the price. (Well at least according to PFF’s trade models) According to Spielberger and PFF, the Rams could land Burns for LA’s 2024 first, 2025 second-rounder, and 2026 4th round pick.

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Too Steep Of A Compensation Drop?

Two firsts and change down to one first and change for a top-end player is a dramatic change. But the Panthers are in a much different place this season than last. For one, they have an entirely new regime. Both the head coach and the defensive coordinator are new. But why would they want to move on from a very talented player at a premium position on his rookie contract? Stay with me…

Last season the Panthers knew they would have a high pick and knew they would have a brand new executive branch coming in in 2023. They traded up to #2 in 2023’s draft to select the future face of the franchise and they hired Frank Reich and Ejiro Evero thinking that the two would turn the team around quickly.

That isn’t happening. All of these factors should be compounded by the fact that Carolina’s owner David Tepper has a tendency to be somewhere on the spectrum between forward-thinking and impetuous.

Not only that, but Burns is about to get expensive. Much more expensive. He is currently a $16 million cap hit on his fifth-year option and, as one of the best edge rushers in the league, will likely double that number for next season. For a team that is solidly still rebuilding, that space is worth more than its weight.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Kansas City Chiefs
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PFF’s Rams Trade Rumors

PFF comp’ed the Brian Burns rumored trade to Bradley Chubb‘s actual trade from last year. Chubb went for first- and fourth-round picks plus running back Chase Edmonds. The caveats are Burns has been a bit better than Chubb and a bit younger too.

If Burns and/or the Panthers are ready to pull the trigger, the Rams could pull this trade-off for a reasonable bounty.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
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The Rams Side of the Equation

The Rams have their first-round draft pick for the first time in the Sean McVay era. But do they want it? Edge rusher is certainly a top priority on the Ram wishlist, but this year’s draft is lacking fool-proof game-wrecking pass rushers. Even if they pick the best edge rusher in the draft, it doesn’t guarantee that that player will turn into a bonafide starter. Trading for Burns would guarantee they have high-end talent at the position. The Rams have made this kind of bet in the past and, for the right price, they will do it again.

Waiting for free agency will only inflate the prices of Burns and other proven pass rushers. The Rams have plenty of money to spend next year, but they also have other big-priced fish to fry in free agency (Alaric Jackson, Jordan Fuller, Kevin Dotson, and Coleman Shelton). This kind of trade is the Rams best option.

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Edge Rushing By The Numbers

To put it in all too simple terms, the Rams have 10 sacks on the season, tied for 4th worst in the league. Burns has 4 sacks in 6 games. To go into more detail, Burns is also one of the few guys who can do what the Rams ask of his position. Currently, Michael Hoecht is in that position and teams are targeting him, literally. Hoecht has 14 targets while defending a pass catcher, five targets more than any other edge rusher. He has allowed 14 catches for 157 yards with 117 yards after the catch.

Burns has never allowed that many yards receiving in a season. Burns has been in coverage 30 times, tied for 8th most, and has been targets 0 times for 0 yards and 0 yards after the catch.

Hoecht for all his Ivy League pluck is a liability in the Rams defense. Burns would, not only boost the Rams edge rush but be a huge boost to the defense across the board. Not only that, but all defensive linemen get a bump from playing next to Aaron Donald.