Pro Football Network analyst considers Giants’ star pass-rusher as team’s most overrated player

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 New York Giants made a splash trade earlier this offseason that saw star pass-rusher Brian Burns come to the Big Apple. Shortly after, the Giants made him part of their long-term plans, signing him to a five-year, $141 million contract.

Many now believe that the Giants have one of the league’s best defenses with Burns thrown into a group that already includes young stars Kayvon Thibodeaux and Dexter Lawrence. However, not everybody is sold on the idea of Burns transforming their defense.

Pro Football Network’s Anthony DiBona listed each team’s most overrated player heading into the 2024 season, and selected Burns as the Giants’ choice for the controversial category:

“Despite New York’s massive commitment, it’s fair to wonder if Burns has officially become overrated at this point. He was an impactful pass rusher for the Panthers, but it’s fair to wonder if he was ever considered elite. Burns recorded just 40 total pressures in 2023. The Giants certainly hope that he’ll play better moving forward,” DiBona wrote.

Despite a drop in some statistics, Burns was still impactful last season

Carolina Panthers offensive linebacker Brian Burns (0) (New York Giants)
Credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

One can look at his baseline stats from last season and see a noticeable dip in production, but what is being understated is Burns’ durability and overall effectiveness. Since coming into the league as a first-round draft pick in 2019, he has missed a grand total of just three games over his five-year career. The Giants dealt with injuries all over the field last season, so having a guy that has a track record of staying healthy is always a plus.

Despite him having his fewest amount of sacks since his rookie season with eight last season, he was still a very efficient tackler. Out of 50 combined tackles he only missed four of them, good for a missed tackle percentage of 7.4%, the second-best mark of his career. In 2023, the Giants’ defense had an alarming 15.9% missed tackle percentage and were tied with the New York Jets for the seventh-most total missed tackles with 117, so the addition of Burns will hope to reduce that number drastically.

Burns’ contract and lack of winning could lead to more ‘overrated’ labels being thrown at him

Oct 24, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is sacked by Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns (53) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

What could make some consider him overrated is the massive contract despite the lack of team success he’s endured. According to Over The Cap, Burns’ $28.2 million annual salary makes him the third-highest paid edge rusher behind only Nick Bosa and Josh Allen, the fifth-highest paid defensive player overall and the 10th-highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL right now.

Considering the Giants are already paying quarterback Daniel Jones an annual salary of $40 million per year, the team is dedicating a lot of money to just two players when they are not expected to be serious contenders anytime soon. It doesn’t help that Burns has also yet to play in a playoff game through his first five seasons, and has a career regular season win-loss record of 23-57.

The Giants hope that Burns will help them win more games

nfl: tampa bay buccaneers at carolina panthers, new york giants
Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, as a defensive player Burns can’t be pointed at as a sole reason for his team’s struggles over the course of his career. However, those struggles could cause people to question his true impact on the football field since it hasn’t translated to a lot of winning, which could have been a key factor in DiBona’s label for Burns. While the numbers show a highly impactful player and one of the game’s best defensive players, the Giants are hoping that meshing him with a group that has a handful of elite defensive players can translate to more winning down the road.

Before any formal conclusions can be made about Burns’ talent level, his first season under a new system with the Giants will need to play out. It’s likely that their will be some initial growing pains, but the hope is that with time his potential will be put on full display for the G-men.

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