New York Jets: Plaxico Burress

Passing on Plax the right move

October, 3, 2012

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets' decision to overlook an unemployed Plaxico Burress has created plenty of chatter on talk shows. But why? It would've been foolish to bring him back. I'm not saying Jason Hill is the answer, but he's a better answer than Burress.

Here's why:

1. Burress is 35 and can't separate from defenders. Yes, he was a red-zone weapon last season (eight TDs), but he was a pedestrian receiver between the 20s -- only 34 receptions as an every-down player.

2. This isn't the same offensive system as last season; he'd have to learn Tony Sparano's offense.

3. Burress and QB Mark Sanchez didn't have great chemistry last season. It wasn't as toxic as Sanchez-Santonio Holmes, but the organization doesn't want to bring back reminders of last year's dysfunction. Also, Burress dissed Sanchez during the offseason in a couple of interviews.

4. You don't want a potentially divisive player in a room filled with young, impressionable wide receivers.

Jets say no to Plaxico

October, 3, 2012
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. --The Jets decided to sign Jason Hill instead of bringing back veteran Plaxico Burress because the team opted for youth and speed, head coach Rex Ryan said.

"I have a great deal of respect for (Burress) and obviously he had eight touchdown catches for us last year. There were some things he did really well for us. We're trying to look for guys maybe a little younger and a little more speed," Ryan said.

"When you look at Hill, the guy we just signed, he has those attributes and that's what I think jumped out at us. We want to get faster as a football team and we think he's a guy that has some tools. He's played in this league and we think can do some good things for us."

Burress, 35, caught 45 balls for 612 yards and eight touchdowns last season as he returned to the league after missing two seasons while in prison. He proved to be a good red-zone target, but Burress wasn't nearly the same player had been with the Giants before his incarceration.

The wide receiver didn't help his cause for a possible reunion by taking a shot at Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez during the offseason. When asked on ESPN's "First Take" if he believed Sanchez could lead the team to a Super bowl title, Burress said the defense could lead the team to a title.

Ryan was asked if anything from last season made the team shy to bring back Burress, but the coach instead praised the receiver.

"I have a great relationship with Plaxico. I think he's a tremendous person," Ryan said. "I just think in our situation we were looking to go a different way. When somebody brings in Plaxico Burress, they're going to get an excellent football player and a guy I have a lot of respect for. I just think in our situation we always do what we feel is in the best interest of our football team and for us it was to sign Hill."

The Jets will now hope for production from Hill, 27, who has 76 career catches for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns. Those career numbers nearly match those Burress posted in his best single seasons during his career.

Positional analysis: Wide receiver

February, 16, 2011

Aristide Economopoulos/US PresswireThe Jets would have to dig deep to keep both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes.
This is the seventh part in our daily, position-by-position breakdown of the Jets' roster. Tomorrow: Defensive tackle.

Focus: Wide receiver.

Depth chart: Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Patrick Turner, Logan Payne.

Expiring contracts: Edwards, Holmes, Smith.

Rear-view mirror: Edwards and Holmes didn't put up monster numbers, but you have to consider they played on a run-oriented team with a young quarterback. Between them, they caught 105 balls and averaged 15.7 yards per reception. Edwards was the team's most consistent receiver. He came to the Jets with a reputation for dropping passes, but he had only two drops, according to Stats, LLC. His YAC was a healthy 5.5 and he blocked like a madman, helping the perimeter running game. If there was a negative, it's that he was undisciplined at times -- seven penalties for 68 yards (including one on special teams), plus two declined. His drunken-driving arrest was the lowlight.

Holmes missed the first four games due to his drug suspension, but he had an unbelievable November, making the pivotal play in three straight victories. Projected over 16 games, his receiving yardage would've been at about 1,000. He brought a playmaking dimension to the offense, yet his YAC was an ordinary 4.4. He showed occasional lapses in concentration, dropping five passes -- including two potential game-changers. But his season will be remembered for his ability to perform in the clutch, highlighted by his acrobatic touchdown in the playoff win over the Patriots.

Cotchery accepted his demotion to No. 3 like a true professional, which didn't surprise anybody. In terms of production, it was a disappointing season. He failed to gain consistent separation against defenders (only 48 percent of the balls thrown to him were completed) and he dropped a team-high eight passes -- uncharacteristic for him. Smith was a non-factor as a receiver, making his mark as a kickoff returner and in the Wildcat.

Numbers game: Edwards became the first Jets receiver since Don Maynard and George Sauer in 1968 to average at least 17.1 yards per catch with at least 50 receptions. ... Holmes scored a touchdown in four of the last five games, including playoffs.

Crystal ball: The receiving corps could have an entirely different look in 2011. Holmes, Edwards and Smith are free agents, and it's unlikely that all three will return. League insiders say Holmes is the No. 1 priority. Why Holmes over Edwards? Scouts say Holmes is harder to defend because of his route running, quickness and separation skills. Edwards has an impressive skill set, too, but it's hard to imagine the Jets doling out two major deals at the same position. Smith probably will return as long as he's reasonable with his contract demands. Don't be surprised if the Jets fill a hole by taking a one-year flyer on Plaxico Burress or someone of his ilk, minus the prison record and gunshot wound.

Hot seat: Right now, it's impossible to say. Let's see who's seated when the music stops.

Positional rating (scale of 1 to 10): 9.0