After the recent release of Plaxico Burress from prison, where he served 20 months on a gun charge, NFL teams are wondering what he has left in the tank. Unlike the case of Michael Vick, however, there isn’t a big issue about taking a public relations hit.
While having a gun go off in your sweatpants is idiotic, it just isn’t a polarizing issue like dog fighting or cruelty to animals. Chicago Bears management hopefully realizes that no picket lines will be held in front of Soldier Field if they choose to sign the free agent wide receiver.
Taking a gamble on a free agent is something that the Bears are not known for doing, but they should take a very close look at Plaxico Burress.
This past season, the Bears were a game away from the Super Bowl. If they want to stay in the NFC hunt in the coming years, with the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers looking like a stable franchise for the foreseeable future, some changes are going to have to be made.
Wide receiver is not an absolute must like the offensive line, but when a player of that caliber is out on the market with something to prove, it has to be taken into consideration. Character issues are one thing, but, in the NFL, where a contract can pretty much be terminated at any time, why not work on a deal?
When Jay Cutler was in Denver, he had the best receiver he ever threw to in Brandon Marshall. He is the type of player that can catch the chuck and pray that Cutler regularly goes for. When he was getting over 4,000 passing yards, it had a lot to do with the presence of Brandon Marshall.
Plaxico has that same type of pedigree. When he was a Pittsburgh Steeler, he had big play capability, and it was one of the main reasons he ended up with the New York Giants, to give Eli Manning had a reliable threat downfield.
Does Cutler have a real “go-to-guy” in Chicago that he feels comfortable with besides Earl Bennett?
If Jay Cutler has a physical 6’ 5” receiver, it would open up Mike Martz's playbook, but he would have to adapt it to Burress in certain situations. On 3rd down, Burress would open up options for other players and will keep Jay Cutler at ease. If Devin Hester and Johnny Knox run streak patterns, you could have Plaxico slanting to the middle and Matt Forte on blitz pickup.
Just think of Greg Olsen and Burress stacked next to each other just off the line or in Trips…
Plaxico Burress is a proven commodity, and he has been resting for almost two years. Jerry Angelo should sit and wait to see what market value he brings, though. The Bears don’t want to overpay for his contract, and he does have problems with his hamstring.
In all honesty, nobody really knows how Burress will pan out. We haven’t seen him in a workout, and with the labor battle still in “secret meetings” that everybody knows about, he really isn’t on the radar of casual football fans.
Just remember, Burress has had a lot of time to think about football; there has to be something left that will help a franchise. He doesn’t have the reputation of blowing up team chemistry, and is young enough that he still has the potential to improve.
Everybody deserves a second chance; the question remains, is he the right fit in Chicago?