NFL Free Agent Rumors: Teams Interested in Signing Plaxico Burress

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIIJuly 6, 2011

NFL Free Agent Rumors: Teams Interested in Signing Plaxico Burress

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    Plaxico Burress was recently released from prison after serving nearly two years on a firearm charge. He's a free man and finally set to be a free agent once the lockout ends.

    Now he faces the challenge of convincing a ball club to take a chance and sign the former Super Bowl hero.

    The 33-year old has been locked up for twenty-two months and even though he did workout while locked up, he must still get into true football shape.

    Moreover, There are a lot of veteran wide receivers such as Randy Moss or Terrell Owens who will probably be given higher priority and you know that when teams are looking at the troubled persona of Owens before you then you've got an issue.

    And of course, a team has to be willing to take that risk knowing that his image is tainted and it would potentially bring in a lot of unwanted distractions.

    On the bright side, Michael Vick demonstrated that its possible to redeem yourself not only off-the-field from a public perspective but also on-the-field with athletic success. That being said, Burress can certainly do it.

    Don't forget he was one of the best at his position before this altercation so he will generate some interest. With the right discipline and determination, he could be catching touchdowns on Sunday once again. It'll just be tough.

    Here are the top teams who I believe will be interested in signing Plaxico Burress.

    Note: This is in no specific order.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Sometimes it takes the darkhorses to creep up and sign you or at least invite you in for a workout. The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a division that includes the high powered aerial attacks of the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts. If they hope to compete, they've got to try and match up somehow.

    With 820 yards, Mike Thomas was their receiving leader last year but he's 5'8" 200 lbs. so he doesn't exactly provide a big body target to throw to. The only other quality wide receiver is Mike Sims-Walker but he's set to be a free agent and may not return. With that being so, Plaxico Burress would be enticed with the opportunity to start and he would certainly fill the Jaguars void.

    Yeah, they do have a 1st round rookie quarterback in Blaine Gabbert waiting in the wing so they may not want a demanding receiver like Burress around him. But Gabbert won't be starting for a while and sometimes you've just got to take that type of a risk.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Similarly to the Jagars, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team in search of some offensive firepower in order to keep in pace with the likes of the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons or at least not to trail behind by too much.

    Both of these teams are some of the best in the league but they were humiliated in the playoffs by not only failing to win a game but by getting upset by the Seahawks and blown out by the Packers respectively. That could carry over, and this is the time for the Bucs to capitalize.

    That could mean taking a chance on a player like Plaxico Burress who would help young quarterback Josh Freeman develop even more.

    Rookie Mike Williams really came onto the scene last year and Kellen Winslow is productive at tight end, but the next guy below them is Arrelious Benn who hauled in merely 395 yards through the air. That's unacceptable and they must find an upgrade.

    Burress could be that guy.

St. Louis Rams

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    I was surprised and truly admired Sam Bradford's rookie campaign because of how well he performed with such little receiving talent around him. He effectively spread the ball as seven different receivers had over 20 receptions and at least 300 yards. Nevertheless, they still lack a top-flight receiver.

    Danny Amendola is a gem in the slot and Brandon Gibson came along, but like many teams they don't have a physical receiver out wide. Especially without a quality tight end, that's a major concern for the Rams and would make Bradford's job out there so much easier.

    The Rams barely missed winning the NFC West title but remain in contention. Even though a mere winning record could be enough, it won't be easy because the Seahawks come in pumped up after their upset over the Saints while both the 49ers and Cardinals should be improved. The Rams must do something to put themselves ahead and signing Burress could be it.

Chicago Bears

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    It's no shocker that the Chicago Bears have desperately needed to add a dynamic wide receiver and they've been searching long and hard.

    Unfortunately, they are a bit trapped after unloading the bank during last year's free agency period on Julius Peppers.

    The Bears, who were in the NFC Championship Game, are ready to compete but they won't be able to get to the title game unless they add a playmaker for Jay Cutler.

    He's used to throwing to Brandon Marshall in Denver and he's pleaded for the Bears to add a bigger receiving threat. Apparently Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, and Devin Huster, all of whom are 6' or under by the way, don't cut it.

    Burress would fit that mold and may be just what they need to elevate their game to the next level.

New York Jets

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    Lack of receivers hasn't been the New York Jets problem to get over the hump and into the Super Bowl. Especially not after they acquired both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes a year ago. But now, those two along with Brad Smith are set to be free agents and it'll be a struggle to even sign two of them, let alone three.That's where the business side of the sport comes in play.

    But in order to maintain their level of talent, they could take a different approach here with Burress by signing him at a discount.

    Burress would, or at least should, be willing to take that pay cut because it would allow him to come back to the Big Apple and also give him the opportunity to contend for a Super Bowl.

    Head coach Rex Ryan proved that he can handle 'larger than life' personalities such as Burress' and I'm sure the organization would have no problem bringing him on. I mean, really, with all the media attention both good and bad they already receive, how much worse can it get?

Philadelphia Eagles

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    I know that the Philadelphia Eagles reported but that could just be a smoke screen in order to silence the media until after the lockout when they can actually make a move.

    In the end, this just makes too much sense.

    Their offense is already loaded with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, but they aren't the physically overpowering big-target receivers that can go over the middle or just leap up and come down with the football. That's why Burress would bring another dimension to their offense and yet another toy for quarterback Michael Vick to throw to.

    Speaking of Vick, this team has experience with taking a chance on an ex-convict and reaping the benefits and that may be an understatement. With Vick, they took the most hated man in the NFL and turned him into the runner-up in the MVP voting. And apparently some people have already forgiven him for his actions because he placed second in the Madden Cover contest which is decided by the fans.

    Oh yeah, and if that's not enough then tack on the fact that Burress comes from a division rival. The Ealges know very well how skilled Burress is as he's caught a touchdown against them in four of their past five meetings. Now, they'd be able to turn that around against the Giants twice a year something I'm sure he'd enjoy as well.

    As I said, it's a perfect fit for Burress to go into this type of a situation.

New York Giants

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    Honestly, I don't see it happening because teams rarely re-sign their players after an incident like this. At the same time, we have seen crazier things happen in the NFL before so I'm not ruling anything out.

    Similarly, Plaxico Burress' agent Drew Rosenhaus said they are open to all 32 teams including the Giants. Yeah, maybe that is just a standard and doesn't mean much. After all, he did overaggerate that several teams are already showing interest which I'll bet isn't true.

    Anyhow, the Giants may not welcome all the negative attention he'd bring with him, but they'll be willing to forgo all that in exchange for his services.

    Even though it appears as if they've prepared themselves for his absence, they were hurt by nagging injuries and Steve Smith is coming back from knee surgery.

    And how can anyone forget his Super Bowl winning catch to upset the New England Patriots?