On Monday, former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress was released from prison and he just so happened to be wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat. Combined with the fact that he flat out told his former teammate Brandon Jacobs that he thought the Eagles would be the best fit for him, the speculation is that Burress will be Philly bound when the lockout is over.
For Burress, Philadelphia makes perfect sense. He is friends with Michael Vick, both are from Virginia and the two have spoken while Burress has been in prison. The Eagles not only helped Vick turn his image around, but his career as well. Philadelphia is not terribly far from where he made his home in New Jersey, but it outside of New York, which is where he got in trouble. Plus, the Eagles are a good team with a corps of wide receivers. He would not need to step in and be the No. 1 guy, he could contribute to a winning team as a role player.
So there’s every reason why the Eagles would be a great fit for Burress, but is he a fit for them?
In 2010, Jeremy Maclin was 35 yards shy of giving the Eagles two wide receivers over 1,000 yards on the year. Their offense was third in the NFL in scoring, second in the league in yards per game and set a franchise record for points for the third straight year. Suffice to say, the team is not lacking in weapons. In DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant they already sport a solid top three players at wide receiver, so where would Burress fit in?
Certainly in his prime, Burress was a fantastic player and would no doubt upgrade the Eagles passing attack. However, he will be 34 heading into next season and after nearly two years in prison, there are certainly questions about what type of shape his body will be in. You could see from the video of him walking out of prison that he hasn’t gained a lot of weight or anything, but there’s a big difference between being “in shape” and “in football shape.”
One thing Burress has that he can never lose is the fact that he’s 6-foot-5. He was also a great weapon in the red zone thanks to his ability to jump over anyone and catch fade passes from Eli Manning. Some people have pointed to that as an area where the Eagles need help. However, it should be noted that the Eagles finished 15th in red zone TD percentage last year. Not good, but not really a deficiency either. In the end, scoring and producing offense was simply not a major issue for the Eagles last year.
That’s why Burress is a luxury piece at best and the Eagles would have to decide whether it’s worth signing him and dealing with all that could come with that rather than just focusing on developing the young wideouts they already have. In the end, the Eagles could very well have a major impact on Burress’ career, but it doesn’t seem like he would be likely to have a major impact on them.