If you're a big believer in conspiracy theories, this article might be for you. Even if you're not a conspiracy theorist and you can simply see writing on the wall, this seems pretty straightforward. The Carolina Panthers have been rumored as "sellers" at the 2023 NFL trade deadline (October 31) and understandably so. Going into Week 8, the Panthers have an 0-6 record and currently would be sending the no. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Chicago Bears.
Without a first-round pick, the Panthers could theoretically replenish their NFL Draft capital by sending pass rusher Brian Burns to the highest bidder. Behind the scenes, it's tough to know just how far trade talks have advanced, but sometimes, NFL teams make it a little too obvious.
Now, we can't just sit here and assume that Brian Burns has nothing wrong with his elbow. Maybe this is a legitimate injury, but there are too many things flying in the face of that being the reality we're dealing with.
Burns was not added to the injury report until late in the week. Given the placement of the NFL Trade Deadline (Tuesday afternoon), the timing here is questionable. It's also worth noting that Burns has been the subject of trade rumors for over a year at this point. The Panthers reportedly had even turned down offers of multiple first-round picks for Burns as of last season.
Although Panthers head coach Frank Reich said that Burns's addition to the injury report has nothing to do with the NFL trade deadline, it's kind of hard to believe him. If the Panthers have even one offer of a first-round pick on the table for Burns, do you really think they're going to risk it by throwing him out there for one more game?
That's not going to happen. Popping up on the injury report late just a couple of days before the NFL trade deadline is a dead giveaway of your intentions. At the very least, we'll know after Sunday if Burns doesn't play what the Panthers were trying to do here. Maybe they just want to make sure Burns doesn't get injured in this game in the event that more teams maybe jump into the mix before Tuesday.
Either way, the idea that Burns popping up on the injury report late in the week having nothing to do with the NFL trade deadline is simply not believable. The Panthers obviously can't publicly come out and say they are shopping Burns, because that could risk his value taking a shot.
The way this situation reads is that the Panthers have some viable offers on the table for Burns, or at least one viable offer. If he plays on Sunday, perhaps that's nothing more than a misread of the situation. If he doesn't play on Sunday after popping up on the injury report late, I think we can all agree on what it would indicate.