Plaxico Burress and the New York Jets: Good Idea or Epic Fail?

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2009

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 Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  The Giants defeated the Patriots 17-14.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

As the off-season drones on, there are still plenty of stories to follow and carry us up until the beginning of training camps.

One which I have been following both as a journalist and a Jet fan has been the alleged interest in former Giant/current defendant Plaxico Burress.

We all know by now that the Jets were in touch with Burress and/or his agent prior to the 2009 NFL Draft.

They never pulled the trigger—and wisely so—as they are unsure what Burress' playing status will be this coming season.

For those who have tried to forget (Giants fan, I hear you), Burress is still waiting for the beginning of his trial on gun charges stemming from an incident last season.

By "incident" I mean, shot himself in the leg.

Meanwhile his agent—the recently Twitterific Drew Rosenhaus—has been tweeting on his account that several teams have been interested in Plax.

The names of the teams in question are murky save for one. That one team is the New York Jets.

Now it is no secret that Gang Green is still lacking your prototypical No. 1 wide receiver. I love Cotchery, but he's a No. 2. Clowney, Stucky and Smith are all middle of the road guys and I doubt any of them—dynamic as they can sometimes be—are going to develop into a top notch starter.

But before you start yelling for GM Mike Tannenbaum to run out and sign Burress, let's keep a few things in mind.

Delayed Impact

If the Jets need a wide receiver, they need him now, not a year from now. Given the rhetoric coming out of the NY DA's office, Mayor's office and other various hounds in the Empire State, it's likely Burress will see some jail time and that looks like at least a year.

Keep in mind, that's even before NFL Sheriff—er Commisioner—Goodell serves him an expected long suspension.

So if the Jets sign Burress—it's likely he won't see the field for a year, maybe more.

There's No 'I' In TeamBut There Is One in Meat Pie

Shaun of the Dead quotes aside, Plax has some team issues. He's not TO. But he has his quirks.

One of them is not practicing. Now this is just a guess, but I think new head coach Rex Ryan might not jive with that.

Doesn't mean he couldn't be effective (please see Giants Super Bowl Season, 2007). But chemistry is a tricky thing. The Jets are trying to build a team attitude that involves hard working teammates not rugged individualists.

This might be a reason why they didn't trade for Boldin for that matter. Ryan is forming a team, not a showcase.

Again, he could (and has) performed before. But the laissez faire attitude could cause problems and disrupt the tone the Jets' staff is trying to make.

Either of those reasons—and they aren't trivial—could leave the Jets saying 'no thanks' to Burress at the end of all this.

But the Plax Show has it's benefits too.


Say what you want about his intelligence for shooting himself, his lackluster work ethic or general ability to be a good citizen. The man makes things happen.

Burress is a guy who always flirts with 1,000 yards and often has broken it. He has topped the mark four out of nine seasons, and if it wasn't for missing games last year, and in 2006 and 2004, I think he would have added three more times.

The Jets need a guy at some point to get the heat of Jerricho Cotchery. even if it isn't this year, the pass attack needs someone who can be a big play receiver to take the heat off everyone else.

Smith, Clowney and Stucky are good receivers but none of them appear to have the big play-crunch time effectiveness that Plax has.

He may be a pain in the tail, but this pain in the tail can ball and the Jets need that. Maybe he doesn't play this year but he will and the Jets have to look long term as well as short.

You See that Lombardi Trophy in the Giants' Offices? You Need One of Those.

The Jets, despite the drafting of future QB Mark Sanchez and future Thomas Jones replacement Shonn Greene, expect to win and now.

In his first presser as head coach, Ryan was very clear. He expects this team to compete year one and be winning the trophy sooner than later.

His defense and run game can take the Jets far. But can they—alone—take the team all the way?

Before the Jets have a shot at getting the Lombardi, they need to add some more pieces and like it or not, a top shelf wide receiver is one of those pieces.

Burress was integral to the Giants' NFL Championship in 2007 run and they suffered without him last season.

Despite a dominant run game (first in the league) and a top five defense, they couldn't finish the job in the playoffs.

There were times where the collected wide receivers were just not enough for Eli Manning to work with. They missed him and couldn't even get one touchdown through the air.

The Jets could use a guy who can change games.

In conclusion Burress certainly brings a complex set of issues for the Jets, if they continue to court him.

Certainly in the short term, he could very well be useless to them as he will at least be suspended if not in jail.

But as a longer term solution, he represents a potentially huge help for the Jet offense and one they have to consider when his legal situations clear up.


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