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Panthers GM Scott Fitterer: No timeline for Brian Burns deal

Scott Fitterer

SPARTANBURG — Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said Tuesday the goal remains to get star outside linebacker Brian Burns signed to a long-term contract extension. However, there's no timetable for that to happen.

"They've been good conversations," Fitterer said of discussions with Burns' agent. "It's not like we have to say it has to be done by this time or that time. We just keep talking. And when the time's right, and we make a deal that's right for him and right for us, that'd be great.

"He's a big part of the organization. We love having Brian around. He's really grown as a leader. Not just as a player but as a leader. He's one of those guys you just love being around."

Burns is entering the final year of his rookie deal, worth $16 million for the fifth-year option. The Panthers could always use the franchise tag on him next year, but that's something both sides would prefer to avoid. He has been at the facility all offseason after having ankle surgery in April. But he's cleared to begin practicing tomorrow with the rest of the team.

At the same time, Fitterer admitted that they'd continue to look at available veteran options at the position to line up opposite him.

They've used a number of players there this offseason (since Burns didn't practice during OTAs), with incumbent pass-rusher Marquis Haynes Sr. likely the first option. Fitterer said they'd give third-rounder DJ Johnson a look during camp since defensive players are harder to evaluate during unpadded practice in the spring.

Brian Burns, Frank Reich

— From a health standpoint, Fitterer said they were in good shape heading into practice Wednesday.

Cornerback Donte Jackson was cleared after suffering a torn Achilles last year, and while they may manage his reps early in camp, he was ready to go.

Like pass-rushers, Fitterer said they'd continue to look at cornerback options, and they worked out a group of 10 players Tuesday as they establish their emergency lists for camp.

Otherwise, the only four players who aren't ready to practice are the four placed on the active/physically unable to perform list last week — guards Austin Corbett and Chandler Zavala and defensive linemen John Penisini and Jalen Redmond.

Fitterer said Zavala's dealing with a hamstring issue and could miss a week or more, while Penisini is dealing with a calf strain.

— While it's early to get into preseason game plans, Fitterer said veteran Andy Dalton doesn't need many reps, so the plan was for Bryce Young and Matt Corral to take most of those.

They cut down to three quarterbacks in the offseason to get Corral more work in OTAs.

View photos of the Panthers as they move in at Wofford for training camp this year.

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