Giants’ new pass-rush duo is criminally underrated

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Credit: Michael Karas / USA TODAY NETWORK

This offseason in a blockbuster move, the New York Giants acquired star EDGE Brian Burns from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a second-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, a fifth-round selection in the 2025 NFL Draft, and a pick swap that included the Giants sending pick number 141 and receiving pick number 166 in the fifth round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

While acquiring Burns, the team extended him to a five-year $150 million extension that includes $76 million guaranteed. The pairing of the uber-talented Burns and former first-round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux puts the Giants’ pass-rushing tandem with a potential that is virtually unrivaled across the sport.

Giants fans may have valid concerns over quarterback play, offensive weapons, and playcalling, but these two pass-rushers should have fans excited for years to come.

The Giants signed Brian Burns to an attractive deal

Oct 29, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) react after a sack in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants inked Burns to that five-year extension as indicated earlier, but it’s not as simple as just a five-year, $150 million deal that pays Burns $30 million on an average annual basis. There is only $76 million guaranteed, meaning that if the team needed to get out of the deal if Burns’s play regresses to an unforeseen level, they could avoid paying him just less than half of the entirety of the total contract.

The deal is front-loaded with the first season having him earn eight million, but then $22,250,000 for 2025 and 2026 and then $21,500,000 for the remaining two seasons of 2027 and 2028. There is a potential out in the deal after 2026 when there would only be $14 million of dead cap remaining but the Giants are hopeful that they never even have to think about that.

This contract is one of two big money deals the Giants have handed out on the defensive side of the ball with the other going deservedly to Dexter Lawrence who is one of if not the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL. The Giants did sign Bobby Okereke in free agency but most wouldn’t consider it a big-time deal though. With extension decisions looming on Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, and Wandale Robinson, saving money anywhere could help them big time.

The Giants’ pass-rush duo could rank among the best

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With the talent of Thibodeaux added to the proven star in Burns, some could argue that this move would give the Giants the overall best edge-rushing tandem in the NFL. No doubt they are one with some of the highest potential in the league.

With Thibodeaux, who was drafted in the top five and had a career year last season with 11.5 sacks, which ranked 12th among all defensive players, but also Burns (who did have a down year last year in Carolina, but who didn’t on that team last year), who has proven over his career he is among the best in the sport at getting after the passer. He had 12.5 sacks in 2022 and has the talent to do even better than that.

If they get that production and the limitlessly talented Thibodeaux takes another step, this could really elevate the team’s defensive line for years to come. With Lawrence, Burns, and Thibodeaux, Giants fans will be eager to see the other team’s quarterback drop back to next season, to say the least.

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