By now most of you will have heard the news that the New England Patriots worked out former Giants and Jets receiver Plaxico Burress. While this may be nothing more than Bill Belichick and the coaching staff doing their usual due diligence on a player, should the need to sign a receiver arise, several analysts, including ESPN’s Mike Reiss, believe Burress’ visit could be more than a routine check-up.
However, regardless of the situation, whether it’s a depth issue or a talent issue, the Patriots should not sign Plaxico Burress.
Burress was repeatedly late to team meetings and skipped practices without notifying his coaches, eventually forcing head coach Tom Coughlin to suspend him for two weeks
Bringing in a player like that into the Patriots' locker room is a problem the Patriots do not need right now. With a young roster filled with impressionable and inexperienced players, a player like Burress goes against everything the "Patriot Way" has stood for over the years.
While some may point to the Randy Moss situation from five years ago as a reason why this may work, the situations are actually quite different.
When Moss arrived from Oakland in 2007 with a history of quitting on his team, he arrived into a Patriots locker room filled with strong personalities and leaders. With Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Mike Vrabel and Rodney Harrison all with New England back then, the locker room was policed by players who followed Coach Belichick’s lead.
In 2012, with Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork being the only real veterans on the team, the locker room just isn’t as strong as it used to be. Emerging leaders like Jerod Mayo and Patrick Chung are still too young to deal with a player of Burress’ stature and age.
Should the Patriots sign Plaxico Burress?
It's also worth mentioning that Moss was only 30 years of age at the time and still had a lot left in the tank. Burress, on the other hand, is running on fumes at the age of 35.
Burress was never a burner even at his best, and in his present condition, he is nothing more than a big target in the red zone.
While that could be useful, the Patriots already have the best red-zone target the league, bar Calvin Johnson, in Rob Gronkowski. Throw in Aaron Hernandez and a jump ball specialist in Brandon Lloyd, and New England should have no problem punching the ball in when they enter the red zone.
Furthermore, signing Burress would put him in an already crowded wide receiver corps. While the competition would be beneficial for the players, placing Burress on the roster would take away a spot that should go to a much better player like Deion Branch or Donte Stallworth.
All things considered, Plaxico Burress is a declining player who would not give the Patriots anything they don’t have already. Along with his diminishing skill set, Burress would bring his off-the-field issues and less than perfect character into a young locker room.
Even if the workout was just to update the emergency list, there are much better and safer options out there over Burress. A risk is only worth taking if the potential payout is justifiable; in regards to the Patriots signing Burress, the payout isn’t worth the risk.