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2 Panthers listed in ESPN’s top 50 free agents of 2024

The Carolina Panthers could play the role of buyer this offseason, but they may want to start by playing keeper.

Former NFL safety and current ESPN staff writer Matt Bowen just ranked his top 50 free agents of 2024. Included on the list are two Panthers, beginning with outside linebacker Brian Burns at No. 6.

Bowen, who has the two-time Pro Bowler positioned as his second-highest edge defender, writes:

Burns had 12.5 sacks in 2022 and followed it up with eight more this season. His 21.7% pass rush win rate also ranked seventh in the NFL. Burns is just now entering his prime playing years, and he has high-end edge-rushing traits, including the speed, explosive power and lower-body flexibility to consistently create pocket disruption.

The 25-year-old didn’t have his most productive campaign in 2023. Burns amassed 8.0 sacks, the fewest since his rookie year in 2019.

Nonetheless, he remains one of the game’s top pass rushers and the Panthers—who may just franchise tag Burns if a long-term deal is not reached—are well aware.

Joining Burns is fellow backer Frankie Luvu, who comes in at No. 42. Bowen adds:

Luvu posted career-best numbers this past season in Carolina, totaling 125 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. He can be schemed off interior blitzes and has enough range to track the ball on the edges.

Luvu’s versatility could be quite valuable, for whoever his defensive coordinator is in 2024 . . .

Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire