Despite the support by existing Giants players to management to bring back Plaxico Burress next year, the New York Giants should expect and plan to be without their star receiver for the 2009-10 season.
Playing without Burress will not be easy even for a talented Giants team that has already proven it can win without him. But in order to get back to the Super Bowl, the Giants will need to address their No. 1 receiver situation for QB Eli Manning to have any chance of success.
And if matters could not get any worse, fellow receiver and free agent to be Amani Toomer might not be back either. The often quiet Toomer recently criticized Giants management/coaching for his reduced role in the offense when Burress was suspeneded.
With Burress and possibly Toomer out of the starting lineup next year, this would only leave third year man Steve Smith as the go to guy. And while Smith has blossomed nicely as a complement and slot receiver to Burress and Toomer, Smith clearly is not a No. 1 receiver.
Consequently, the Giants would need the revert to the upcoming draft, free agency, or potentially trade for an impact receiver with another team.
In the draft, there are several exciting receiver prospects like Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, and Percy Harvin. However, all of them are expected to be gone by the time the Giants pick at No. 29. This would leave the Giants with the option to sign a free agent like T.J. Houshmandzadeh or Antonio Bryant or trade for a wide receiver like Anquan Boldin or Chad Johnson.
Houshmandzadeh will likely want a lucrative deal and Boldin is the obvious sexy choice, but the price tag in terms of what the Giants would have to give up and his salary is going to be hefty tab for the Giants to absorb.
Giants management should instead offer the Cincinnati Bengals a draft pick for Johnson. If Randy Moss was acquired by the Patriots for a fourth-round pick off a bad year, the same could be had for Johnson.
With an extra second-round and fifth-round pick due to their trade of Jeremy Shockey last year, the Giants have the extra picks to make it happen.
Johnson just like Moss is outspoken but will not be a distraction on a big team like Terrell Owens is everywhere he goes. Moss came to a successful Patriots organization with a star like Tom Brady and a no-nonsense headcoach in Bill Belichick and blended in nicely.
Deep down Johnson just wants to win and what better place to do that in a city like New York with a star QB in Eli Manning and a disciplinarian coach in Tom Coughlin?
Sounds like a perfect place for Johnson to blend in.