NFL: Where Will Plaxico Burress Make a Difference?
Plaxico Burress is out, and he's back. The unrestricted free agent was released from prison and now some of the biggest questions during the lockout are where he will land and if he will be able to continue playing at the Pro Bowl level he used to.
Several players are lobbying for Plax to join their team, but where will he do the most good? This slideshow takes a look at the Giants, Jets, Skins, Steelers, Eagles and Rams, and how he would help each team.
New York Giants
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Honestly, I don't see this as a possibility one bit.
The Giants already are having trouble finding enough money to spread around free agents such as Ahmad Bradshaw and Kevin Boss, and they have no needs at the WR position. Hakeem Nicks can stretch the field, Steve Smith is one of the league's top possession receivers and Mario Manningham is a rising star. Also, none of them are older than 26, and Plax is in his 30s. The Giants have neither the money nor the need for Plaxico, so he will have to take his talents elsewhere.
If by some chance Plaxico did find himself a Giant again, he would most likely do nothing more than take up a spot on the bench. It's highly unlikely that he will immediately return to his old level of play, and the Giants have wasted no time in moving on with younger, more trustworthy players.
St. Louis Rams
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The Rams were ever so close to securing the NFC West title last season, but they had it snatched away at the last second by the Seahawks—the only other team that seems to be a threat in the division. Part of the reason why is because the Rams lack offensive playmakers.
They have Steven Jackson, the reliable running back, and Sam Bradford, the promising young quarterback, but no one with the explosiveness or playmaking ability that Plax had back in the day. They have an impressive possession receiver in Danny Amendola, and Mark Clayton was having a great year until his injury.
The Rams have a talented young receiving core ready for next year, but the addition of Plax would be a smart move and could really help them solidify a place at the top of the NFC West. He doesn't have to be the No. 1 go-to guy for Bradford, just the veteran presence who can step in when they need to make a play.
New York Jets
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The Jets have some issues at WR.
Brad Smith, Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards are all potential free agents, and the Jets probably won't be able to retain all of them. Plaxico Burress could provide the answer. Santonio Holmes is the most crucial player for the Jets to re-sign, but instead of also signing Braylon Edwards or even possibly Brad Smith, the Jets could take a chance with Plaxico Burress. In his prime he equaled some of the elite receivers in his playmaking ability, and alongside Santonio Holmes, he could be quite a threat if he still has some of his old talent.
The Jets are on the verge of a Super Bowl berth, and they could be just an improved receiving core away from playing at the big one. And there's nothing like a pair of tall, sure-handed receivers to help out emerging QB Mark Sanchez.
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The Plax-Steelers situation resembles the Plax-Giants situation.
Both teams have history with Burress, and many people would love to see him return to them. However, both teams currently have no need at the WR position and a return by Plax just isn't plausible. Hines Ward is getting old, but he is still a powerful, dependable receiver, Mike Wallace can burn virtually everyone down the sideline and Antwaan Randle El is the wild card of the Pittsburgh offense. Emerging young receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown also show a lot of promise for years to come, so there seems to be very little room for a vet like Plaxico Burress.
The Steelers are already Super Bowl contenders as it is, and adding Plaxico simply wouldn't do anything for them besides eat up some money.
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There is certainly no lack of speed in the Philadelphia offense.
Mike Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are some of the fastest players in the league. However, although the Eagles receivers are quick, none of them are exceptionally tall or physical. Plaxico Burress would bring a tall, physical playmaker and potential third-down target for Mike Vick. I'm sure the Eagles are high on Burress's list as well after seeing how Vick was able to turn himself around with the team after getting out of prison and recently having undoubtedly the best season of his career.
After watching Plax play with the Giants, Andy Reid knows what his skill set is and how talented he is and may be able to bring out the best in the vet.
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The Washington Redskins are truly a painful team to watch. They are completely lost at QB, went through the whole ordeal with Albert Haynesworth and seem to have no competent offensive players besides Chris Cooley and Santana Moss, who may be a free agent if the Skins fail to re-sign him. Plaxico Burress, if he still retains any talent at all from when he played with the Giants and Steelers, would really help out the Redskins.
They too have watched him play closely and know of his talents. Santana Moss, the speedster who can turn a short yardage play into a TD, could really benefit from Plax's presence if he returns to the Skins. The two receivers would complement each other well, with Burress's physical play and Moss's quickness. Moss somehow still managed to have a 1,000-yard season last year with 93 receptions and could do more with Plax.
Although he wouldn't be the savior that pulls that Skins out of mediocrity, he would add some depth to the receiving corp that can make any secondary in the league look great.