The Brian Burns contract situation caused a lot of drama leading into the Carolina Panthers Week 1 game against the Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers' pass rusher played and played well in the team’s 24-10 loss, though, and now reports are that his plan is to dominate this season, so the franchise has to pay him in 2024.

“After months of talking, the Panthers and Burns never got close on a new deal before Week 1,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Wednesday. “My sense is Burns, clearly frustrated, is now focused on putting up a banner season and worrying about his contract — or even a new destination — next spring. That's not to say the Panthers can't double back and try to renegotiate in-season, but both sides probably need a cooling-off period at this point. Burns is set to be a free agent in March unless Carolina franchise-tags him. This one is still puzzling. Burns is an elite talent, and it feels like it should have gotten done.”

Burns was a standout on the Panthers defense that gave up 24 points to the Falcons in Week 1. The two-time Pro Bowl edge rusher had seven tackles and 1.5 sacks in the losing effort.

That sack-and-a-half Sunday brought the 2019 No. 16 overall pick’s 65-game total to 39.5. That total is the 11th-most in the league since his draft year.

The Panthers could franchise Burns this coming offseason, but that could result in a holdout or trade demand. If Carolina general manager Scott Fitterer wants to keep his star long-term, he’ll have to pay up.

“As for what the deal could look like, I doubt he gets Nick Bosa money ($34 million three-year average per season, $122.5 million guaranteed), but he can maybe land something in the Joey Bosa neighborhood ($29.2 million three-year average per season, $102 million guaranteed),” ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports. “Something in the $27 million-$28 million per year range, in line with guys like T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett, makes sense.”

A Brian Burns contract like that would make a lot of sense to both sides, as the Panthers have the ability to pay stars like Burns now with rookie quarterback Bryce Young on the first year of his rookie deal.