Philadelphia Eagles Free Agency: Latest Plaxico Burress News and Speculation

Randy JobstSenior Analyst IJune 13, 2011

Philadelphia Eagles Free Agency: Latest Plaxico Burress News and Speculation

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    LEBANON - JANUARY 14: New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress warms his hands as he arrives at the Lebanon County Courthouse January 14, 2009 in Lebanon, Pa.  Burress is scheduled to appear in a civil trial in a dispute with an automobile dealer ove
    Chris Gardner/Getty Images

    Plaxico Burress is a free man again. He was released from prison June 6th, stemming from his two charges of criminal possession of weapon in the second degree and reckless endangerment in the second degree. Both were felonies.

    Twenty months later, Plaxico is free again. Burress has gone from being a prisoner to now a big-time free agent waiting for this lockout to end so he can get make a big payday.

    Every week, the rumors and speculation keep changing on Plaxico and his possible teams next year.

    Of course, while the lockout is in place, coaches and every team's front offices are not allowed to speak to any player right now. That includes free agents, even ones serving time in prison.

    Let's address all the latest Eagles-related Plaxico Burress news, rumors and speculations before it all gets out of hand.

Do the Eagles Even Want Plaxico?

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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
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Before I get into the latest on Plaxico Burress, I believe it's important to address why the Eagles would even want Burress.

    Plaxico Burress has been a major headache for coaches in the past. He has been suspended twice in his career for refusing to show up for practice, once with the Steelers in 2004 and again with the Giants in 2008.

    He was also fined $45,000 for his actions towards an official in a game October 24, 2008.

    Bottom line, his attitude has been less than manageable in the past. So why would the Eagles, who pride themselves in going after high character type players, want Plaxico?

    Red zone woes, that's why.

    In 2010, the Eagles red zone offense stalled numerous times and probably cost them a couple games. They settled for a 23-yard field goal against the Redskins in Week 4, a game they lost by five.

    The Eagles had three games in 2010 in which they made at least four field goals, and two of those three games they lost (Tennessee, Chicago). The red zone offense of Philadelphia seems to always hold them back. Signing a 6-foot-5, 230 pound wideout could be the solution.

    The Eagles are stacked at wideout right now, but with Plaxico out of football for two years, he wouldn't necessarily be an every-down player. He could be a third down and red zone type of player.

    Imagine the Eagles red zone offense going with four wide receivers, with 6-foot-4 Riley Cooper on one side and 6-foot-5 Plaxico Burress on the other side, with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in the slots.

    Worst case scenario, the Eagles red zone offense would be at least slightly improved, which could be the difference between winning or losing a key game in January.

Michael Vick Reaches out to Plaxico Burress

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts against the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris Trotma
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Michael Vick has been in Plaxico Burress's shoes.

    He spent nearly two years in prison. His image was shattered and experts were wondering if he would ever be an NFL starter again.

    In only his second year back in the NFL, Vick nearly won the MVP. His jersey is selling off the charts, he was one of the top vote getters in the Pro Bowl and he is once again one of the most popular players in the game.

    I mean, didn't a certain Dallas Cowboy ask for his autograph on the field after the game? No other player would be a more perfect mentor for Plaxico Burress right now, and it seems Michael Vick is a more than willing mentor.

    Michael Vick is already reaching out to Plaxico, even though he hasn't officially met with him yet. Vick is advising Plaxico in the media: "Just take your time coming back and getting acclimated. Think family first and football second and it'll all work out."

    Vick also said "It's great that he'll get a second chance. We'll pray for him, we're going to support him 100 percent and we're in his corner and we just want him to excel."

    It would appear that Vick wants Plaxico to come to Philadelphia. He is willing to help him out with what he is going through. Vick also realizes that Plaxico would be a huge help in Philly. Vick has favored big receivers in the past.

Plaxico Burress Wants to Be an Eagle

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30:  Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants goes with a touchdown catch over Sheldon Brown #24 and Quintin Mikell  #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Giants Stadium on September 30, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs has remained one of Plaxico Burress's closest friends. Jacobs has said in recent interviews that there is no chance Plaxico will be back with the Giants but wants to play for the Eagles.

    Jacobs talked about how both Vick and Burress are from Virginia, and both have gone through similar situations. He also stated that Burress wants to go to a Super Bowl contender.

    The biggest question surrounded Burress going to Philadelphia is his willingness to settle.

    The Eagles will be going after a bigtime cornerback and will most likely give new deals to DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick.

    Giving a huge deal to a 34-year-old at a position where they already have two standouts in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, along with one of the better slot receivers in the league in  Jason Avan, could be seen as excessive.

    Plaxico probably wouldn't be asked to play special teams, but he wouldn't be a No. 1 or 2 receiver either.

    It would appear that the Eagles are high on Plaxico's list of teams to sign with. It's still unknown if his attitude has truly changed about his willingness to take a more incentive based contract and a lesser role.

Where Is the Eagles Interest Coming From?

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    Drew Rosenhaus
    Drew RosenhausDoug Benc/Getty Images

    When Plaxico Burress was released from prison, he was shown on TV wearing a Phillies hat.

    Is this a move by Plaxico's agent Drew Rosenhaus to make it seem the Eagles are interested in Plaxico or is Plaxico just a diehard Phillies fan?

    If every NFL owner believes the Eagles will make a move to get Plaxico Burress' services when free agency finally happens, it could only raise the price of Plaxico.

    The Eagles were one of the few teams interested when Vick got out of prison and was reinstated in the NFL, and they have certainly reaped the benefits. Any interest in Plaxico will only raise the interest of any NFL teams that are wide receiver-needy, like Miami, St. Louis, Buffalo or San Francisco.

    The Eagles front office has yet to speak of any interest in Plaxico Burress. Andy Reid went as far as to say the Eagles havn't even gotten that far yet. The Eagles have other glaring holes to fill, like right cornerback, backup quarterback and depth on the offensive line, along with plenty of weapons for Vick to throw to.

    It wouldn't be so crazy if they passed on Plax, would it?

Media Speculation

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    GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 23:  Wide receiver Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants warms up for the game with the Arizona Cardinals on November 23, 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants won 37-29.  (Photo by Stephen Dun
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The rumors and speculations from so-called experts have been all over the place as of late.

    Depending who you follow on Twitter and who their sources are, you either are pretty confident that the Eagles will sign Plaxico, or you think there is no chance that the Eagles have any interest at all.

    According to Jeff McClane's Twitter, all the interest in Plaxico Burress is coming from his people, not the Eagles'.

    On the other side, Adam Caplan believes that the Eagles are interested in Plaxico:

    "From talking to personnel sources recently, one told me that Reid has always been impressed with Burress' ability to beat coverage with his size and that he expects to the Eagles to make a run at him once free agency starts."

    Adam Caplan is a sports writer who is very well connected with the Eagles. He was one of the first people to report that the Eagles had hired defensive line coach Jim Washburn. I would believe Caplan over any other expert on the Plaxico Burress situation, although right now I don't know if don't know if I believe anyone.

    The Eagles front office does not let much information leak out. Very rarely does anyone know who they will draft or sign. Everything in Philly is pretty hush hush, so nobody knows what the Eagles will do. Everything is pretty much speculation.

    Bottom line, it's all about what Plaxico wants.

    If he wants to be a star wide receiver again, he will probably get his chance, just not for a contender.

    Miami has some serious concern with Brandon Marshall. St. Louis need a deep threat for Sam Bradford badly. The 49ers need wide receiver help as well. Every time Michael Crabtree opens his mouth, it seems like he loses more favor with both the coaches and current starting quarterback Alex Smith.

    There are several other teams that could use Burress' services as a No. 2 wideout as well. If he wants to play for a middle of the road or rebuilding team but get a big pay day at the same time, he can.

    If he wants to play for a Super Bowl contender like Philadelphia, he will have to take a lesser role and an incentive based contract.