With all these rumors flying around that Plaxico Burress and the Philadelphia Eagles have mutual interest in each other, it's hard not to get excited about the prospects of Burress back in football, along with a new NFL season altogether.
However, the NFL lockout is still alive and well for the moment, and short of Brandon Jacobs telling us Burress has spoken with Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, we really can’t be too sure Philadelphia is where he’ll be landing.
Obviously Philadelphia has to be considered the front runner right now, given all the information at hand. But we thought we’d take a closer look at interest in Burress and even throw in a couple teams few people are talking about.
Here are five interesting matches for Burress’ services for the 2011 NFL season, along with fantasy analysis.
Plaxico Burress will be looking for a new home, and the Washington Redskins currently have just one established veteran receiver (Santana Moss), who just happens to be a free agent when league operation resumes. True, the Redskins just drafted three receivers in the 2011 NFL draft, could bring Moss back and haven’t been tied to Burress, but you can’t rule it out when you’re talking about Daniel Snyder.
In the fantasy realm, it's hard to love Burress’ chances in this offense, specifically since there is no real answer at quarterback.
Chicago needs a big receiver that can make plays, be physical and draw defenses’ attention in the red zone. Right now, the only guy they can lean on for any of that is tight end Greg Olsen, and that just hasn’t been cutting it. Jay Cutler put up magical numbers in Denver when he had an elite receiver in Brandon Marshall, so the Bears ought to get a nice look at Burress and see if he can make an impact after being out of the league for three years.
If Burress locked into Chicago and had a solid role, he could post decent fantasy numbers in his first year back. Cutler knows how to get the ball to guys who can make plays, and a Mike Martz offense bodes well for a talented receiver.
Re-signing both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards will be a very difficult (if not impossible) task for the Jets, so finding a cheap alternative could be a good move. The Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss rumors are a bit louder than Burress going to the “other” Big Apple franchise, but if it comes down to money, Burress might have a chance.
There’s no word on if he’d be interested, but the need could be there. Burress probably wouldn’t mind joining a team built for a run at the Super Bowl either.
I still can’t put much faith in Mark Sanchez, so if this signing went down, you’d have to imagine Burress’ first year back would have the ceiling of any of Braylon Edwards’ seasons in New York so far.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams have really only been mentioned amidst reports saying Burress is interested in joining the Eagles, while it's pretty clear that the Rams are already jammed up at receiver with a ton of mediocre talent. However, with that talent being replaceable and Sam Bradford’s development hanging in the balance, bringing on a huge target like Burress could be a great move for the Rams.
Believe it or not, there’s actually a lot of fantasy potential here, as Bradford and Burress would be able to work some magic in a Josh McDaniels offense. Receivers and quarterbacks tend to put up gaudy numbers in those offenses, so the prospects are interesting. The Rams not being a legit contender, however, makes this match a little unlikely.
This has to be the top destination at the moment. Maybe Burress wouldn’t mind playing for a division foe of his former team (the Giants). Maybe he thinks the Eagles are one big piece away from making it to the Super Bowl. Or maybe he saw the dramatic turnaround Michael Vick had when he went to Philadelphia, and he sees this as the perfect situation and opportunity to resume his NFL career.
The fact that Burress and Vick have actually spoken about this and reports are saying the interest is mutual suggests this is a deal just waiting to happen.
It all sounds interesting on paper, but what does the addition of Burress mean for the Eagles and Burress himself in fantasy terms? With DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin already firmly implanted as Vick’s top two options, it’d be difficult to justify bringing on a 34-year-old, rusty receiver to take one of their spots.
With that being said, Burress would likely be looking at a third receiver role, although it’d be impossible for him not to be the team’s top red-zone target if he comes back with anything close to the same effectiveness and ability he had three years ago.
Burress is coming off a three-year break and is 34, and we really don’t know what to expect. But he is a huge target who could easily surprise a lot of people if we’re not looking out for him. Keep an eye on the situation.
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