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Burns agrees $150m deal with Giants as Wilkins heads to Las Vegas

The New York Giants bolstered their pass rush on Monday as they agreed a five-year $150m deal with former Carolina Panthers edge Brian Burns.

The Panthers will receive a 2024 second-round pick and a 2025 fifth-rounder, with Burns, who will sign his franchise tag to facilitate the deal, set to receive $76m fully guaranteed.

He will arrive as a marquee bookend to a defensive front that now includes Burns, Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux as the Giants look to improve on their measly 34 sacks in 2023.

A deal for Burns came on the same day that the Giants lost star running back Saquon Barkley to the Philadelphia Eagles and safety Xavier McKinney to the Green Bay Packers.

Burns, who turns 26 next month, had 46 sacks in five seasons in Carolina. Only recent Hall of Fame selection Julius Peppers had more sacks in his first five seasons with the Panthers.

The compensation for Burns is much less than what the Panthers would have received had they traded him last summer when the Los Angeles Rams offered two first-round picks for the 2019 first-round draft pick.

The decision to move on from Burns will save the Panthers $24m under the salary cap this season – the money he would have been paid as their franchise tag player. The Panthers had tried to work out a long-term deal with Burns last year and most recently at the NFL combine, but failed to come to terms on an agreement.

Carolina now have seven overall picks this April, including two picks (No 33 and 39) in the second round. However, the Panthers traded away their first-round pick in 2024 – what turned out to be the No 1 overall pick after finishing 2-15 – when they moved up to get quarterback Bryce Young last year.

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Carolina also lost its other productive starting outside linebacker Frankie Luvu, who agreed to terms with the Washington Commanders on Monday.

The Panthers did agree to terms with free agent guard Robert Hunt from the Miami Dolphins on a whopping five-year, $100m contract , that includes $63m in guaranteed money.

Wilkins heads to Vegas

The Las Vegas Raiders meanwhile strengthened their defensive line by agreeing a four-year $110m contract with former Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.

Wilkins, who will receive $84.75m guaranteed, can sign the deal when the new league year officially begins on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old played his first five seasons for the Miami Dolphins, with whom he became one of the NFL’s top run stoppers. He set a league record in 2022 for his position with 98 tackles.

Wilkins recorded a career-best nine sacks last season, fourth among all tackles, and will now accompany edge rusher Maxx Crosby and 2023 first-round pick Tyree Wilson to lead the Raiders defense under Antonio Pierce.

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