Philadelphia Eagles Should Only Sign Plaxico Burress If He Accepts Minimum Deal

Darren GrossmanCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2012

Plaxico Burress is valuable only if he is willing to sign for the minimum contract
Plaxico Burress is valuable only if he is willing to sign for the minimum contractMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

I have been conflicted on Plaxico Burress.  On one hand, I can see the value of having him on the team.  He is tall, which Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson are not.  He is good in the red zone, scoring eight touchdowns last season.  Scoring eight touchdowns with Mark Sanchez is like scoring 12 with a real quarterback.

However, he is also in his mid-30s and not the receiver he once was.  While Burress can still make plays, he seemed to disappear at times last year.  The Burress case is a tough one.  Was his lack of catches last year the result of poor quarterback play?  Sanchez clearly struggled to get his receivers the ball at times.  Or was the poor play the result of declining skills?

It is clear that Burress, who is a good friend of Michael Vick, wants to be an Eagle.  The question is should the Eagles want him?  I guess it ultimately depends on the price and what role he would play.  If their answer is to sign him and trade Jackson, then no, the Eagles should not go after Burress.  If they sign him just for depth and a red-zone threat and he is willing to play for the league minimum, he becomes a little more intriguing.

The reality is Burress could get more money someplace else, but if I am the Eagles, I would not offer more than the league minimum for several reasons.  First, he is in his mid-30s and a lot of teams will not make him an offer at all due to his age and past character issues.  Second, he is only worth a million or two at most to a team that would really want him.  However, he wants to come to Philadelphia and has said that.

Since he wants to be an Eagle, I would offer him the veteran minimum, well, mainly because I think he would accept it.  If he truly wants to be an Eagle that bad, he will play for the minimum contract.  It would preserve the little cap space the Eagles have and not lock them into anything on Burress, so if he causes a problem, they could cut him.

Of course, the other consideration is checking the veteran receiver market.  One issue with signing Burress is Randy Moss and Terrell Owens both want to play in the league next year.  Moss would be a better move than Burress and is a better receiver—and so is Owens (although we know the Eagles aren't going down that road).  So in reality, Burress is the third best out of those three, and if I could get Moss or Burress for about the same money, I would rather go with Moss.

However, Moss may not play for the minimum and Burress might.  That is what it really comes down to for me.  If Burress wants to be an Eagle, give him a one-year deal for the veteran minimum with nothing guaranteed.  If he makes the team and has value to the team, great.  If he doesn't, the Eagles cut him and walk away unscathed.

Those are the terms I would offer, and it would be up to him to accept.  If he doesn't, I wouldn't bring him in and would look elsewhere.