Saturday, July 30, 2011
What's next for Steelers, Plaxico?
By James Walker
The Pittsburgh Steelers met early Saturday morning with free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress. According to Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, the meeting went well and there's interest from both sides.
That part is no surprise. But the next step is the most important and probably will determine whether Burress plays in Pittsburgh in 2011 or somewhere else.
The Steelers have to determine a price tag for Burress. That will be challenging given the rapidly changing market and Burress' absence from football since 2008.
Agent Drew Rosenhaus will be seeking the best deal possible for Burress, who was a very good receiver when he last suited up. Pittsburgh, in contrast, has to weigh Burress' age -- he turns 34 on Aug. 12 -- and his need to shake more than two years of rust.
Is Burress worth $5 million per year, $2 million or the veteran minimum?
"Things change by the minute, because you don't know what it's going to require you to get any player," Colbert explained. "Other teams are doing the same thing we're doing. So sometimes the demand will drive that market and we have to decide if we want to be in it or not."
In addition to Pittsburgh, Burress' other former team -- the New York Giants -- already met with the wide receiver and are showing significant interest. More teams could join as the process moves along, which would be good for Burress but not the Steelers.
Colbert will meet with Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin later today to gauge his feelings on Burress and where he might fit. But Colbert and Pittsburgh's players appear willing to move forward. So I don't see any reason Tomlin wouldn't feel the same.
Pittsburgh is already making tough decisions to fit under the salary cap. Veteran leaders such as receiver Antwaan Randle El and offensive tackles Max Starks and Flozell Adams are among the early cap casualties.
Depending on the price tag, fitting in "Plax" could lead to more salary cuts.
"If we do get in it, what’s it going to cost us on the other end and can we handle it?" Colbert said. "That's something we’re trying to judge daily."