2 moves that could make Detroit Lions Super Bowl champions in 2024

As the Detroit Lions eye taking the next step next season, these two moves could make them Super Bowl champions.
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2. Trade for Panthers edge rusher Brian Burns

The Lions' pass rush issues last season were obvious, and it needs to be addressed to some extent this offseaon. Namely, an edge rusher to pair with Aidan Hutchinson sits high on the list of offseason needs.

Enter Burns, who has been franchise tagged by the Carolina Panthers but is pretty clearly available via a trade. The non-exclusive tag allows him to talk to other teams though, and the Panthers have the right to match any offer he gets.

The Panthers may be moving toward a fuller rebuild, and paying Burns $24 million this year on the franchise tag, let alone giving him the long-term deal he can command, is not a viable part of the plan. Talks between the two sides about a multi-year deal have apparently gone nowhere anyway, now with a second general manager in place.

A report out of the NFL Combine from Josina Anderson of CBS Sports said the Panthers were putting contract talks on hold, which doesn't make a lot of sense.

Burns' production did fall a little last offseason, to eight sacks from a career-high 12.5 in 2022. But there being no other pass rush presence to take attention away did not help, and his deeper pass rush metrics did not drop much. And the Panthers rarely led games during a 2-15 season where both wins were by two points.

Entering his sixth NFL season, Burns will turn 26 in April. One way or the other he should get paid this offseason, and the Panthers would do well to give up the ghost and let him go. A trade might be the quicker path, but it's fair to think Burns would have the Lions on a list of teams he'd like to play for and they may have interest in tendering him an offer the Panthers won't even think about matching.

Young? Check. Hungry? Presumably, check. Fills a big need? Check. Burns looks like a great fit for the Lions, if he can be had and the No. 1 move on this list can't be done.