On June 15th, Plaxico Burress will appear in court to determine the outcome of the felony gun charges leveled against him following his accidental self-shooting last November.
The outcome of that hearing is by no means guaranteed one way or the other, and Burress could see prison time. However, if the charges are dropped or Burress agrees to a plea bargain, it might be possible for him to continue his NFL career in 2009.
I’m aware that those are very big “if” statements, but were they to come true, Burress could be signed or invited to participate in training camp by any team that lacks a go-to receiver and is willing to deal with the media frenzy that his arrival will undoubtedly precipitate.
Of the teams that need help at wide receiver, three stand out as possible candidates to sign Burress:
New York Jets
Rex Ryan has already expressed measured interest in acquiring the talented but troubled receiver, contacting Drew Rosenhaus in case a deal might be in the making. Burress would be a good fit with the Jets–he provides Mark Sanchez with an alternative to Jerricho Cotchery and he would be able to remain in New York rather than taking up stakes and moving somewhere else.
Sunny south Florida appeals to just about everyone, and the Dolphins need a veteran wideout to tutor third year man Ted Ginn Jr. Chad Pennington would certainly welcome a proven player like Burress, who would keep defenses honest so they aren’t just worrying about Ronnie Brown and the Wildcat. Bill Parcells also knows how to keep his players in line, so I don’t think Burress would have any discipline issues if he landed in Miami.
At the moment, Devin Hester is the only legitimate target for new helmsman Jay Cutler, and with Hester likely to handle the kick and punt return duties as well, he’ll need someone to take the pressure off him in the passing game. If Cutler can develop a rapport with Burress in training camp, the play-action pass could become a deadly part of an offense that currently focuses on Matt Forte.
Keep in mind, all of these possibilities are riding on Burress’ ability to get out of court relatively unscathed. If he doesn’t find a way out, we may not see him for a long time.
We have yet to see the full effect of extended jail time on one’s playing career (Michael Vick will be upgraded to house arrest this month), but with Burress on the wrong side of 30, it may be too late by the time he gets out.