Monday, June 6, 2011
From lockup to lockout, Burress needs a job
Out of prison, Plaxico Burress will be pursued by NFL teams and won't have trouble finding work in 2011.
That's what his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, claimed in an email to The Associated Press: "Many teams will want [Burress]. He will be a top free agent. He is healthy and ready to go. He will be signed shortly after the lockout ends."
Rosenhaus has been known to bluff about interest in his clients before. He declared "several teams" were hot for Terrell Owens in 2009, when the receiver made the Buffalo Bills his first visit and then signed before leaving town.
Teams must approach Burress with a healthy amount of skepticism. He will be 34 in August, hasn't caught a pass since before Thanksgiving 2008 and was slowing down even then. His average yards per catch had diminished for four straight seasons.
That said, Burress still is 6-foot-5 and can outmaneuver defensive backs as a third-down and red-zone threat.
Michael Vick's successful NFL return from prison also will make more teams open-minded about Burress, who spent 20 months in prison on handgun charges.
ESPN analyst Cris Carter estimated "a half-dozen" teams would be interested in Burress but expressed concern over Burress' ability to remain explosive. Burress had motivation problems to begin with and has had limited access to training facilities for nearly two years. Carter used New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis as an example. Revis merely missed training camp last year, yet was dogged by hamstring problems. Revis is eight years younger than Burress.
ESPN.com's blog network examined each NFL club's potential interest in Burress. You can read the rundown in chart form. I predicted the Jets would be the most interested, the Miami Dolphins would be lukewarm and the Bills and New England Patriots largely uninterested.