Roll Out The Red Carpet for Plaxico in Florham Park

Bleacher ReportContributor IJune 11, 2009

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 Dunn/Getty Images)

The trial date of Plaxico Burress is rapidly approaching and it is time to deliberate whether the Jets should pounce on Burress should he find himself playing this upcoming season.

There are a variety of opinions on Burress and his "baggage" that he'll drag with him to the Jets and whether it is worth it. The public perception of Burress seems to be very precarious and the prospect of Burress with the Jets is adamantly opposed by many after witnessing how his irresponsible nightclub incident crippled the Giants.

Burress was deemed a distraction, thug, and dilemma for the Giants who would deactivate Burress. Several factors contributed to his release after his court date was delayed. The Giants management obviously wasn't on the same page as the Giants players regarding their teammate, who chorused their approval of Plaxico and a return to the team.

Brandon Jacobs, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck were among several who lobbied for the Giants to retain Burress while he remained on the team. The Jets locker room isn't hesitant in expressing their opinion regarding Plaxico. 

"I'd open my arms wide if he's able to come here. I think the rest of the team would, too. That's a special talent. I only see upside if we're able to get him. That could definetely put us a lot closer to our goal," said Lito Sheppard. 

"Plax was a great teammate," said Alan Faneca. Faneca added that Plaxico did brew some controversy, but that wasn't unusual for Plaxico. Jerricho Cotchery noted Plaxico is a gem of a talent you don't find on the market too often and "any team would find a way to welcome him." Cotchery and Faneca have embraced the prospect of Plaxico as Jet. 

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"From being around him, I think he'd be a real good fit here," says Faneca. "He'd be welcome." The perennial Pro Bowl left guard spent the bulk of his career with the Steelers and some of it with Burress. "He'd be welcome here."

Cotchery, cemented as the No. 1 receiver on the depth chart for the time being, benefited from having Laveranues Coles around to divert the attention of opposing defenses, and while you'd think he'd be ready to absorb the spotlight, perhaps even he understands Burress would do wonders for the offense as a whole but also allow himself to flourish the way he has been doing. 

Entertaining the idea of Burress is an "insult" to the relative minnows of the receiving corps, according to Wallace Wright.

Wright is practicing impressively and has caught the attention of Rex Ryan while utility player Brad Smith is making a case for the vacant starting slot. David Clowney is in the mix, although he hasn't been at his best lately. I'd say Chansi Stuckey is leading the pack at the moment.

Rex mentioned Wayne Chrebet and Wes Welker while describing how potentially productive Stuckey can be in the slot, and he could be a sleeper especially if the Jets do manage to ink Burress.

The aerial attack would look a lot more menacing with the addition of Burress, opening things up for Cotchery as well as Stuckey. Brad Smith also thrives in packages with multiple wideouts, and if Wallace Wright continues to progress he could be a factor as well. Hopefully the Jets can wrench out something in the towering Marcus Henry. 

The passing game as a whole would improve drastically if Burress were to be reeled on board. Stuckey is a stellar guy who can make plays out of the slot and David Clowney can hit the home run with his speed, and even if Brad Smith and company can't chip the Jets would be a lot more comfortable putting the ball in the hands of rookie Sanchez with Burress out there. 

Sanchez, after getting a record deal, has a clear way to the starting spot and has shown promise as of late in practice. He wrapped up minicamp with a string of completions on a scoring drive, finishing on a high note while a fierce battle with Kellen Clemens in training camp ensues. 

Back to Burress. Plaxico is already popular in the locker room for the Jets, or at least with those whose vote counts. It boils down to Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan's decision but all indications are that they'll pursue the star. They've had several opportunities to quell the rumors they're very well aware of, and have helped fuel by talking about Plaxico from a 'positive' perspective.

In other words, they're going to play it by ear but are interested and will try and bring in Burress. The votes of confidence from guys like Cotchery and Faneca that have been signed, sealed, and delivered in favor of Burress should be echoing in the back of Tannenbaum's mind.

It helps to know your players would roll out the red carpet for a guy like Burress who the media in New York has already been crucified.  

The way players view Burress indicates he doesn't disrupt the fabric of a team and its chemistry and that his behavior and conduct fly fine with everyone in the clubhouse.

On the field he's capable of doing many things, and one of those was accelerating the development of a young gun under center with Eli Manning. They ended up winning a Super Bowl together, and I'm sure the Jets wouldn't mind Burress to unleash money man Sanchez and vice versa.

Henry Ellard sums it up pretty well:

"He makes plays. He made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. We would love to have him because he adds to what we already have."

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