We have all heard about the accidental shooting incident Burress was involved in. But honestly, that is all done and over now.
Two years removed from football, having spent that time in prison, Plaxico is ready to make his NFL comeback. And I believe that he can step onto a team and be a great asset for a couple more seasons.
He is 33 years old, but he just had two years off from football and claims to be in great shape. He was a force on the Giants in recent years and was the main reason they were able to upset the Patriots in 07'. With great hands and excellent speed, I assure you that there are more than a few teams willing to take on the risk.
So where will the "Plaxico Burress Experiment" end up? I've taken a look at every NFL team's receiving corps and ranked them in order of where Burress will most likely land. I ranked the teams keeping in mind four things. 1. Teams with blatant wide receiver need. 2. Teams in need of star talent. 3. Which teams could be scary good with the addition. And 4. Which teams are willing to dish out the cash.
With all of these factors taken into account, here we go.
Naturally, the Green Bay Packers are the most complete team to start off the 2011 season. They should have the same core of players that carried them to the Super Bowl. Unlike a lot of other sports writers and pundits across the nation, I believe that the Packers will retain both Jordy Nelson and James Jones. They really have one of the top wide out groups in the NFL.
While Plaxico would be a luxury I'm sure the Packers would enjoy, there would not be enough balls to go around with Rodgers spreading the ball so much and Greg Jennings demanding most of the attention. As the saying goes, why fix something that isn't broken?
The Giants have already been there. Bottom line, I can guarantee you that they will not take the risk of being burned again by Burress. While their passing game has been suspect in recent years, I just do not see them handing out second chances.
He doesn't look too happy here either...
The same goes for the Steelers. They had him once and were not necessarily burned by him. But it's not like Plaxico lit up the score board, either. The Steelers have a good younger core of wide outs that they would like to let develop. Plus, they seem to be have a new diva in Hines Ward.
The Philadelphia Eagles offense burst onto the scene in 2010 with Mike Vick at the reigns. We all saw what an explosive offense it was. But frankly, there isn't any more room for another wide receiver. Or for ex-convict comeback stories in the NFL. Yeah, I said it.
A lot of people seem to think that the Eagles would be more willing to bring in Burress based on Vick's success. But the bottom line is that they have DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and their lead pass catcher LeSean McCoy.
First of all, I cannot stand the Falcons. So if they were to gain one more stud receiver, I might just hurl. Differences aside, the Falcons just gave up a draft and a half for rookie Julio Jones. They already have diva and Twitter extraordinaire Roddy White to deal with. There simply is no need for another receiver. The offense is set to explode. They have bigger needs on the defensive side of the ball.
Peyton Manning is a terrific quarterback and thus makes his receivers seem better than they really are. He simply does not need another good option to throw to. He makes do with what he is given. And actually, he has two of the best in the game already with Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. No receiver need.
Dallas, where all the divas come and go. Honestly. Terrell Owens and Roy E. Williams have never been the same. Dez Bryant has potential to be a stud if he can keep his head straight. The Boys don't do well with hot headed wide outs, which is exactly what Burress is.
But through all of this, I could actually see Jerry Jones going for Plaxico in free agency. Plus, Romo could use another receiver to count on in the passing game. But ultimately, they do not have room for this luxury.
The Bucs are a team in the midst of a youth movement. Coach Raheem Morris has been pretty outspoken that he does not really want to go out and sign veterans to his team. While the combination of Mike Williams and Plaxico Burress looks enticing, I do not see it happening.
This is another example of a team that does not have a direct wide receiver need. They actually have one of the better wide out groups in the league without having an "elite" guy. Marques Colston is close, though. Sean Payton has shown that he is willing to take on aging veterans and has had great success in doing so. Plus, he is always looking for new offensive toys for his offense. But ultimately, the Saints have bigger needs in free agency, and that is why Burress does not end up with them. Although, dare to dream what Burress could do paired with Drew Brees and vise versa.
The Panthers are another team in the middle of a full on youth movement. They do have a glaring need at wide receiver, though. And if new coach Ron Rivera had guts, he would re-sign Steve Smith and then go out and get Plaxico. That would immediately become one of the better receiving corps in the league, and rookie Cam Newton would have legitimate options in the passing game. Plus, signing another wide out could be enough to make the disgruntled Smith stay with the team.
But in the end, Rivera plays it safe, and Plaxico really would rather not play in Carolina. Who would?
I don't even know what to say about the Bengals. They are an absolute mess, and how coach Marvin Lewis won the Coach of the Year award in '09 baffles me.
They have already meddled in the veteran wide out department with the T.O. and Ocho show. It was actually a good combo for a few games. But like everything else the Bengals touch, it was doomed. They are purging what they think the problem is in Cincy, Ochocinco and Palmer mainly, and have brought in the rookies Andy Dalton and A.J. Green to build their offense around.
Plaxico would instantly make their receiving core respectable, and he could be an okay mentor for Green. But trust me, Burress will not end up in this mess.
The Ravens are quickly becoming one of the league's top offenses. They made sure last offseason that they bolstered their passing game and went out and grabbed Anquan Boldin in free agency along with Donte Stallworth. They rarely seem to make a big splash in free agency. But when they do, I suspect it will be nabbing an offensive lineman. Not Mr. Burress.
Honestly, the Vikings could be a good match for Plaxico Burress. They have a couple so-so receivers on their team who often under achieve. Rookie Christian Ponder will likely take over at the quarterback position, and I'm sure he would love someone talented to throw to. Bringing in Burress would also take some attention off of Adrian Peterson to do what he does best. Actually, a vikings team with Plaxico would be vaguely familiar to the Giants of '07. Just a thought.
But coach Leslie Fraiser remembers the mess that was Randy Moss last season. So I don't see him taking a chance on Plaxico.
This picture cracks me up every time.
Well, the list of teams being burned by veteran receivers just keeps on growing. The Dolphins weren't actually burned per se. But they certainly did not get what they wanted out of Brandon Marshall. Chad Henne is vastly under performing. Chad Pennington was a way better manager for the Dolphins in my opinion.
But all things aside, Henne just needs more experience and more weapons. I think there actually is a good chance that Plaxico gets an offer from the Dolphins when free agency opens up. But I don't see the deal following through.
If the Broncos are smart, and John Fox hasn't made the smartest quarterback decisions thus far in his career, then they will keep Kyle Orton as their starting signal caller. But it seems as though they will go with the beloved Tim Tebow. Quite simply, he isn't ready to produce in an NFL offense yet. But I think the front office will do whatever it takes to make the Tebow situation take flight. That may very well mean going out and getting Burress. The combination of Plaxico and Brandon Lloyd could actually prove to be quite deadly.
The main reason that the Texans are this high on the list is because of what the duo of Andre Johnson and Plaxico Burress could be. Think about it. Scary, right? Andre Johnson is arguably the best wide out in the game today, and if he were paired with another viable target, they would be unstoppable. The Texans have actually been rumored as a landing spot for Burress, and I would love to see it happen. I think Gary Kubiak will try very hard to make this happen.
The only reason that the 49ers are this high on the list is their blatant need for an offensive playmaker. Michael Crabtree has not played up to all of his hype thus far, but that is probably due to the lack of a good quarterback. The 49ers could really use Burress on offense, but without a quarterback, the combo really doesn't make any sense.
The Bills actually had a good passing game last season. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the real deal, whatever that means. Steve Johnson emerged as a legit threat as well. I can really see this deal happening, as Plaxico would give the Bills another offensive weapon. The trio of Johnson, Lee Evans and Burress would give defensive coordinators fits.
The Cardinals have been mentioned in a lot of potential deals this offseason, most of which include them going out and getting Kevin Kolb. But that's another article for another day.
But as a local Phoenix resident, I have heard rumors of the Cards being in business for another receiver to go opposite Larry Fitzgerald. How beast would that be? If the Cardinals do not have to completely break the bank for Kolb, then I see this deal happening.
To be honest, the only reason the Lions are so high on this list is because I would love to see Calvin Johnson and Plaxico Burress tear it up every Sunday. But in reality, the Lions have been in the market for another receiver. But I do not see the deal happening because they already drafted Greg Little in the draft and would be better off pursuing an offensive lineman in free agency.
The Titans showed glimpses of a high powered offense in 2010, but then they would absolutely shut down the next game. I guess the Titans think that Jake Locker is their saving grace at quarterback this year, but not until they get him more than just Kenny Britt in the passing game. Britt may not even be playing with the Titans, let alone in the NFL at all, with his off the field antics this summer. Jeff Fisher would be wise to vouch for Burress.
The Redskins are a mess. Seriously, why would you bench McNabb in favor of Sexy Rexy?
There are reports of the Redskins starting John Beck this season under center. That's just a disaster waiting to happen. Frankly, the Skins are so high on this list because signing Burress would be just one more boneheaded move I can see this organization making. It would not work out well at all despite the need for a stud opposite Santana Moss.
The Seahawks are in a bit of a limbo right now. They have a declining quarterback situation right now and the answer is not on their roster. There is talent on this team, and Burress would be able to push it over the top. I can see Plaxico going to the Hawks' based solely on the notion that they would want to try and go for a "win now" approach until their new franchise quarterback is found.
The Chargers mystery is one to watch in the coming years. They consistently have a top NFL offense but fail to go far in the playoffs. Last year, they were number one in the league on both sides of the ball, but completely missed the postseason.
With questions of whether Vincent Jackson will be back or not, I can see the Chargers going for Burress doing anything they can to win. The move would actually improve an already scary passing attack.
The Rams have been involved in every discussion involving free agent wide receivers this offseason. They really just do not have the talent at that position to compete at the next level. Sam Bradford is a talented young quarterback and would love to have Plaxico to throw to. Plaxico to the Rams would be the best overall scenario on this list. But the Rams may not be willing to take a chance on him or to dish out the cash.
Ahhh, the Patriots. They seem to always end up towards the top of every list and in every discussion.
One could argue that the Pats have absolutely no need for a star wide receiver because Brady can make anyone look good. While that is true, look back at what he did with a star in Randy Moss. I'm not trying to say that Plaxico would put up numbers anywhere close to Moss and Brady in '07, but i believe that it would be a good fit. The Pats show the willingness to go out and get players that they want as well. And I can bet you that they remember how talented Plaxico is from the Super Bowl.
The Jaguars have been on the cusp for a long time now. But they really have a limited potential on offense with a pedestrian passing attack. Imagine what Maurice Jones-Drew could do with Plaxico blazing down the sideline. The Jags would be smart to go out and get Burress for their new rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. It sure would speed up his transition into the NFL with a stud wide out to throw to.
The Chiefs surprised everyone last season by winning the AFC West and going to the playoffs. They have a good young offensive core, and bringing in Plaxico could really push this team over the top. The offense would be unstoppable with Burress and Dwayne Bowe through the air and Jamaal Charles on the ground. Love to see this deal happen.
Now we enter the top three teams who have a shot at Plaxico. These teams have the best shot at acquiring him and having success with the transaction.
The Browns are a young team on the rise. They are building very well through the draft and in free agency. Colt McCoy looks to be the answer for the Browns' recent quarterback woes. But he will certainly need some help.
Enter Plaxico Burress. He can immediately step in and make this offense much better than it currently is. Pair him with the Brown's bruising running game, and you have yourself a dark horse in coming years.
Everyone knows that the Bears need to sign a wide receiver. Even the Bears themselves have admitted as much. They have a Super Bowl quality team already in place. Receiver is really the only piece missing. It make too much sense for the Bears to pair Jay Cutler with Plaxico for them not to go out and get him.
Putting the Jets as the top team to get Plaxico Burress in free agency was painful. But every time I went to rank the Jets lower, I just couldn't.
Rex Ryan is a gutsy coach who will go out and get the players he wants. They may be left bare after free agency opens up, with Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes testing the market. The Jets are on the cusp of a Super Bowl appearance, and they will go out and make sure Plaxico is helping their team do it.