According to the St. Pete Times , Raheem Morris made the announcement yesterday that Plaxico Burress, the trigger happy ex-Giants wide receiver, has voiced an interest in playing for the Bucs. Per Morris
He's a great player, any time you get a chance to add a great player to your team, you definitely have got to have some sort of interest. We don't know what's going on with his legal problems, we don't know what's going on with the suspensions in the league. Until we get all that stuff resolved, it's not even worth talking about.
Profootballtalk seems to think that there will not be a legal case brought forth this year, and instead will be pushed back to 2010, freeing Burress up this year, but obviously keeping his future in doubt. From a legal standpoint, it seems as though Burress will remain a free man this year, and with the Commish's silence on the issue, it seems fair to assume that Burress is like any other free agent at this point, ready to be signed and make an impact on their team of choice.
There are a couple of mitigating factors as the Bucs kick the tires on the lanky receiver. The biggest issue has to be the extenuating legal circumstances coupled with his perceived attitude. Is he willing to come to a team where he may be 2nd banana, or even 3rd with Bryant and Winslow already on board? Can he handle not being the main attraction? There's no doubt he is talented, but he was the security blanket for Eli Manning, and thus far, in limited action, we've seen McCown able to spread the ball around, Leftwich is not a one receiver guy, and we haven't even scratched the run heavy offense filled with other playmakers.
Another issue potentially is his contract. He's 31, having been out of action for the last half year due to his legal/team issues. He should be in his statistical prime and no doubt with his numbers, he will want top money. The question is, do we do what we did with Bryant, sign him to a one year "prove it" deal, thus allowing us an out if legal problems ensue? This could potentially have him hold us ransom via the franchise tag or huge salary demands in the next year, assuming the legal issues are worked out. Can we sign him to a cheap deal based on the uncertainity down the road, the "damaged goods" scenario? Any significant contract would tie up alot of money in our WR corps. Bryant is scheduled to make $9.884 Million (all guaranteed), Clayton is on the docket for $24-26 million with 10.5 guaranteed and Winslow signed a 6 year $36.1 million deal (though only 2 years and 20.1 million are guaranteed).
You can see where our potential WR corp would chew up alot of cap room with no guarantees beyond Clayton (Bryant one year contract and I'm assuming/hoping the Bucs wouldn't sign Plax to multi year deal without some out clause). We have the cap space this year to sign him, or anyone, but is it worth it? Do we reward or pay another player before we pay those on the team (i.e. Ruud)? In what is shaping up to be a non-Super Bowl year for the Bucs, do we make this big splash or do we focus on getting things right this year and progress forward.
This also adds another loud voice to a pretty open locker room. There is no doubt with Brooks gone that the locker room is up for grabs. We have two young QB's in McCown and Freeman. It becomes a very dicey call to bring in Plax, who can get sour at times, along with Winslow and a slew of other "characters" (yes you Jerramy Stevens). No one can measure or equate how locker rooms are won, what voices are needed, but I think we can all agree that adding another big voice that has a history of being more negative than positive may not prove beneficial to our young quarterbacks.
This is a wait and see game. The news is out there now, Plax is interested in the Bucs, Morris has given the proper lip service on the situation, the question now stands, do we bring him in, or do we look elsewhere? Should Plax get signed by the Bucs, maybe we can let him fire off the cannons, put that itchy trigger finger to use for a good cause this time.