Plaxico Burress: 5 Teams That May Take Chance on Ex-Con Giants Receiver

Adam LazarusSenior Analyst IMay 16, 2011

Plaxico Burress: 5 Teams That May Take Chance on Ex-Con Giants Receiver

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    GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Wide receiver Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants catches a 13-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter over Ellis Hobbs #27 of the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of P
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    There's always a market for a productive wide receiver.

    With the way offenses have evolved in the past few decades, we see more and more four- and five-wide receiver sets, and you can't just stick any rookie out there.

    That's why veteran pass catchers will always have a place on NFL rosters...and why it's a good bet that someone will still sign Randy Moss and Terrell Owens this summer.

    The same is probably true for another veteran with major baggage: Plaxico Burress.

    Sure, just about two full calendar years will have passed since he played a single down in the NFL, and no one knows what kind of game shape he will be in. But that won't stop teams from at least showing interest in the man who caught the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl just three years ago.

    Here are the five teams most likely to take a flier on the soon-to-be 34-year-old.

No. 5: Jacksonville Jaguars

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    IRVING, TEXAS - OCTOBER 17:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a Jerame Tuman #84 touchdown with Plaxico Burress #80 in the fourth quarter at Texas Stadium on October 17, 2004 in Irving, Texas. The Steelers won 24-20.  (Photo by
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Coincidence or not, Burress seems to have a pretty good rapport with young quarterbacks.

    He was a real safety blanket for a rookie Ben Roethlisberger in 2004 and then flourished a year later when he was paired with second-year QB Eli Manning.

    His enormous frame (6'5") probably has something to do with that—he's such a huge target, and since he rarely goes deep downfield, young quarterbacks can rely on him in a pinch.

    So if the Jags end up playing Blaine Gabbert earlier than expected, Burress could be a good pickup.

    They could lose Mike Sims-Walker via free agency, and they aren't deep after him and Mike Thomas.

    Bringing in Burress with his baggage might not be ideal, but their passing game needs to improve, and Burress might be a good mentor...on the field only.

No. 4: Chicago Bears

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    CHICAGO - DECEMBER 2:  Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants carries the ball during the NFL game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 2, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Johnny Knox, Devin Hester and Earl Bennett are a good corps of receivers, but none have the ideal red-zone size that Burress does.

    The Bears (especially Jay Cutler) would probably rather land a top-notch free agent like Sidney Rice or Mike Sims-Walker, but Burress does have tons of playoff experience, something neither of those two younger, speedier stars-in-the-making can boast.

    More to the point, in a division where Green Bay is currently on top—thanks in part to three really physical corners—adding a player like Burress would open things up over the middle so tight end Greg Olsen can continue to blossom.

No. 3: Washington Redskins

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    TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 06:  Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants grabs the face mask of Ronde Barber #20 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth quarter of the NFC Wild Card game against Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on January 6, 200
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The Redskins aren't shy about bringing in players with baggage, so Burress' record probably won't keep them from looking at the former Michigan State Spartan.

    But if they do consider signing Plax, it's going to be because their crop of wideouts is extremely thin. Yes, they drafted two extremely promising players in Leonard Hankerson and Niles Paul, but who knows if they'll be able to contribute in year one?

    Burress' size can bail out whoever (could it really be John Beck?) they stick under center next season, and he can provide a nice counterpart to Anthony Armstrong, who is only 5'11."

    Oh, and Burress would certainly jump at the chance to play the Giants twice a year.

No. 2: Carolina Panthers

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    GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 20:  Wide receiver Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants celebrates after winning the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers on January 20, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.   The Giants defeated the
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    No team needs wide receiver help more than the Panthers, who will probably deal away or just cut Steve Smith at some point this offseason.

    While Ron Rivera probably doesn't think it's ideal to bring in an ex-con at the start of his rebuilding the Panthers franchise, he now has two extremely inexperienced quarterbacks on his roster.

    Regardless of who is under center, Jimmy Clausen or Cam Newton, they have to put decent pass catchers on the field. If Burress is available at a relatively cheap price, he's a good placeholder for a year or two.

    Put Burress and David Gettis on the field at the same time (with perhaps the scrambling Cam Newton), and they have a pretty great goal-line offense.

No. 1: Oakland Raiders

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 7:  Plaxico Burress #80 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled by Charles Woodson #24 of the Oakland Raiders duirng the third quarter on December 7, 2003 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Raiders 27
    David Maxwell/Getty Images

    Yes, the "Raiders love criminals and bad boys" theory is in play here, but the football argument is also pretty compelling.

    For one, Al Davis loves the vertical passing game, and although Burress doesn't have great speed, he can use his large frame to make big plays downfield, especially in the red zone. You'd also figure that Hue Jackson was hired because he convinced Davis that he'd push the deep ball more.

    But the Raiders' young corps of pass catchers—Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford and (especially) Darrius Heyward-Bey—could definitely use a veteran pass catcher to learn from; Johnnie Lee Higgins is probably the most seasoned receiver on the roster.