Plaxico Burress has been released from prison and into the arms of the ultra-creepy man hug of Drew Rosenhaus. This is sure to start a chain reaction of posturing and hyperboly that will eventually culminate into an NFL team signing Burress when the lockout is over.
So, what now? Before speculating on the teams that could possibly be interested in Burress, we need to take a look at the player himself.
Plaxico is no spring chicken after spending nearly two years in prison for nearly killing himself by packing and subsequently firing a loaded gun in his sweatpants. At the ripe old age of 34 when the season begins, signing Burress will no doubt be a short term endeavor.
His best seasons came in New York where he tallied 244 receptions, 3,681 yards and 33 touchdowns in just 57 games over four seasons. During that tenure, he was known for being a great red zone threat and had the ability to post up smaller defensive backs at will to make the tough catches when needed. He’s never been a burner, but that actually helps him now. He’s no doubt lost some of his explosion over the past two years, but he’s also never truly relied on it as much as other receivers do.
Burress is a player who is going to need some time to get in shape and learn a new offense. The lockout certainly hurts him since teams can only talk about signing him instead of getting him in the fold and into a strict training regimen over the Summer. Plaxico has never been known as a tireless worker, so the lockout poses a serious threat to his future. As it stands, his best production would likely come in the second half of the season as he gets comfortable.
In the end, expecting more than 650 yards and 4-6 touchdowns next season would be a stretch. You could make a good case for having him on your team if you’re a contender, but there’s no need to take up the valuable roster space if you’re a rebuilding dynasty franchise. Let’s take a look at some of the teams who could end up taking the plunge.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams may indeed be the best situation for Burress. Sam Bradford is looking for weapons and Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo has a history with Plaxico from their days in New York. Burress could conceivably work his way into the starting lineup and help with the development of Bradford. Having a big rangy target like Plaxico would be very nice for the young signal caller. The Rams receiving corps is one of the worst in the NFL right now.
The Dolphins have problems of their own with Brandon Marshall, so it’s safe to say they’d have to be pretty convinced that Plaxico is on the right track to sign him. On the field, they really need some more weapons to pair with Marshall and Davone Bess. It’s widely speculated that this is indeed the place where Burress himself wants to go, so the Dolphins could get him at a discounted rate.
New York Jets
Rex Ryan has no problem with big personalities or players who get extra attention. After all, it’s New York. While Plaxico may want out of the area, it’s tough to say any team may need him more if the Jets fail to sign Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and Brad Smith. While it’s likely Holmes stays, the other two probably have one foot out the door. Burress could be a “plan B” if the Jets can’t get something done with fellow free agent Randy Moss.
Burress may be just what the Eagles need on offense. While they have speed and explosiveness with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin on the outside, they do miss a big receiver who can be a threat in the red zone and in short yardage situations. While his numbers in Philly would pale in comparison to those he could post in a place like St. Louis, the Eagles team environment could be good for him in the long run as well.
You can never count out Daniel Snyder when it comes to big name free agents. Couple that with a big need at receiver and you could see a marriage here. The problem for Burress would be signing on with a team that is really in the rebuilding phase. He’d likely rather catch passes from Michael Vick or Sam Bradford than John Beck after all.
Burress will find himself back in the league next season. Just how much that matters will be based on just when the lockout ends and who decides to sign him.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK
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