2. Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers
Burns was "mysteriously" absent from the Panthers heading into Week 1, as he eyes a sizeable contract extension befitting his status as one of the NFL's best (and most underrated) pass rushers. Most recently, he said contract talks are "on hold" now that the season has started.
"We haven't really been in talks,'' Burns said last Saturday. "I told them once the season started I'm all about ball. I can't give a thousand percent on the field and to my teammates if I'm still worried about contract negotiations."
The 0-2 Panthers have not looked very good (at least offensively) so far this season. If that losing continues, Burns will be easy to push as a potential trade candidate between now and the Oct. 31 deadline. The Panthers aren't in any position to trade their best players if they can help it. But their hesitancy to pay Burns coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, not to mention career-highs in sacks (12.5), total tackles (63) and tackles for loss (17) last season, goes down as a mishandling of the situation.
The cost to get Burns, in a hypothetical trade and with the assumption of paying him on the back end, will be high. But for the Lions, as they crack open a window to win this season, it would be worth it.