Plaxico Burress was recently a guest on the "Brian Baldinger and Harry Mayes Show" on 97.5 The Fanatic ESPN Radio broadcast and claimed, in regards to possibly joining the Philadelphia Eagles squad, that "nothing else would make him happier". Burress returned last season after serving a prison sentence and if the Eagles would again be interested (they were somewhat interested last year but were unwilling to outspend the NY Jets' offer of $3 million) he would be reunited with his childhood friend – Mike Vick. With the Jets showing no immediate signs of offering another contract to Burress, this acquisition could become a real possibility for Eagles fans. The question is: would it make them happy?
Let's look at some pros for this transaction. Number one, it appears that Burress is passionate about rejoining the NFC East and Philadelphia in particular. Bringing a player onto a squad who actually wants to be there can be an intangible and lead to an overall better team attitude. The antithesis of this was witnessed with the fiasco in Minnesota and Tennessee when Randy Moss wanted to go back to New England. Additionally, Plaxico sported a Philadelphia Phillies ball cap in one of his first public appearances after serving his jail time. His public display of affection is obvious. Number two, it can be argued that the Eagles are looking for a bigger red zone presence to help the passing game. Burress weighing in at 230+ pounds and standing 6'5" could be their elixir. (VERDICT) Having Burress' passion and size on your squad: Burress – Happy; Fans – Happy.
The Plaxico of today is much different than the Plaxico of old. Since catching 3 touchdowns on 4 receptions against San Diego on 10/23/11, he averaged 3 catches with 41 yards and 0.33 TDs per game over the course of the last 9 games of the season. The story gets worse when you couple these discouraging numbers that a practice squad player could put up with the fact that he's lost a step and going on 35 years old come the 2012 NFL season kickoff. Granted some players can play ball at 35 or older – I think Jerry Rice put up two 1,000 yard seasons at or after that age; but it's few and far between. (VERDICT) Not having an aging WR with paltry second half of last season statistics take up a roster spot: Burress – Unhappy; Fans – Happy.
The Eagles' wide receiver corps is already crowded enough. If Philly decides to bring DeSean Jackson back, he'll be the number 1 wideout; followed closely behind by Jeremy Maclin . Jason Avant is a solid number 3 man who is known for his great hands. The fourth roster spot is Riley Cooper 's, although young and developing; he has the size (6'3", 220+ pounds) and could become the redzone threat that the Eagles might be looking toward Plaxico to fill. If Plaxico is willing to take the veteran league minimum and play 4th or 5th fiddle, why not? These players also have roughly 15 years combined experience between them: Jackson (4), Maclin (3), Avant (6), Cooper (2). Plaxico himself has 10; obviously this makes him a prime candidate for mentorship, right? I would argue yes, except for the fact that advocating your young speedy pass catchers to emulate someone who has served time behind bars would be a little hypocritical. (VERDICT 1) Having Plaxico as your 4th/5th string WR: Burress – Unhappy; Fans – Happy. (VERDICT 2) Having Plaxico as your mentor: Burress – Happy, Fans: Unhappy.
Finally, one reason that Plaxico wants to join the Eagles is to play alongside Mike Vick. However, Vick is one injury away from playing with no one. No single player has frustrated fantasy owners more than Vick with his unbelievable highs and "hold your breath, this isn't good" lows. If Plaxico is coming to play with Vick and Vick has only averaged 12.5 games over the course of the last two seasons, that leaves 3.5 games to be played by their backup. The Eagles recently signed Trent Edwards (which most likely shuts the door on Vince Young's time in Philly) to battle Mike Kafka for the backup role. One, if not both of these players, will see time on the field next season; which in turn essentially eliminates a major reason why Plaxico would come to play with Philadelphia in the first place. (VERDICT) Playing with Mike Kafka or Trent Edwards: Burress – Unhappy; Fans – not applicable.
All in all, if Head Coach Andy Reid believes he can revive another career without forking over a lot of money, then it sounds like a decent deal. However, the media will run with this story (if it actually reaches fruition) and it may disrupt the chemistry in the locker room and distract players from the overall goal of the team. The Eagles should spend their time ramping up their run defense and grooming Riley Cooper to be an endzone threat. So for the happiness and sanity of everyone, the attention that surrounds a possible 4th string WR on arguably a run first team (the "Vick and McCoy Show") should be put to rest (or more aptly stated "to Bur-REST").