Cam Newton's New Best Buddy: Should the Carolina Panthers Sign Plaxico Burress?

Benedict E. CarterContributor IIMay 18, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 20:  Wide receiver Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants reacts to the crowd during the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers on January 20, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Now, this will be a hard sell.On June 6th of this year, Plaxico Burress is scheduled to be released from prison, and by all accounts is prepared to suit up for football this season.

I haven't seen many reports even mentioning Carolina as a possible resting spot for Burress following his prison sentence, and the Panthers might not even be considering him themselves. However, it's becoming ever-apparent in Carolina that serious help is needed across the entire field, especially with the receiving corps.

Many Panthers fans will swear blind that no one should even consider adding a felon to a team, or that it's an overt sign of desperation. The facts have to be said, unfortunately, that these are desperate times for the team, and they need all the help they can get.

Also, consider that Steve Smith may well be on his way out of the team via trade, and the outlook for the Panthers' season is indeed bleak. Plaxico could come in, swiftly take up the reigns as the No. 1 target for whoever is under center throughout the season, and make an immediate impact in Carolina.

Don't forget that this is a stellar athlete that can be acquired from free agency, as he likely won't demand a great deal of money straight out of prison, nor will Burress want to attract any more negative attention to himself following his indictment. By all means, Plaxico could come onto the Panthers team and have the same sort of affect Michael Vick had for the Eagles.

The experienced receiver made a clinical error in moral judgement, granted. However, now that this is his past, he'll be all about the football. This is a player who has hauled in 55 touchdowns, over 500 receptions and nearly 8,000 yards on the football field, and there are only a few reasons (despite two years removed from football) to suggest he couldn't continue that level of play for the Panthers.

Even if Smith decides to stay, Burress can line up opposite him, and give Cam Newton or Jimmy Clausen two legitimate threats on offense.

As far as moral ethics go, Burress should be avoided at all costs. But once you look at the Panthers' outlook for the 2011 NFL season, there are worse things than adding a former Superbowl-winning wide receiver to a team that finished with the worst record in the league last year.