Rumors are flying of a potential fit between the Oakland Raiders and free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress. It would be surprising if the Raiders took a chance on Burress due to the depth, youth, and talent the team already has at wide receiver. However, the Raiders should always kick the tires on a player if they feel he has a chance to help the team.
Burress also comes with the baggage of accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a New York City Club. He spent 20 months in prison as a result of the incident and while in prison missed the entire 2009 and 2010 seasons. He returned to the NFL last season when the New York Jets took a chance on Burress by signing him to a one year deal.
For the Raiders, Burress would have to accept a back-up wide receiving role. Starters Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore are locks, barring injury, to line up as starters. Oakland also has promising talent in Jacoby Ford and rookies Juron Criner and Rod Streater. The team likes their development and would not risk hurting that progression to bring in Burress. Another factor that plays into whether or not the Raiders would be interested in Burress is financial. Last season he signed for just over $3 million with the Jets. That number will have to drop to around 1-2 million for Oakland to consider. They have opened up a little over $6 million is cap space over the last few weeks and have several depth needs other than wide receiver, which is the position with the most depth.
Last season, Burress played in 16 games, starting 13 with the Jets. The 6-5, 230 pound wide-out caught 45 passes for 612 yards and eight touchdowns. He helped the Jets' offense make considerable strides in their red zone scoring efficiency. That is his strength at this point in his career. He is a big receiver that has good leaping ability and strong hands. In the red zone he remains dangerous, but after that it's questionable. The New York Giants used to have success with Burress playing in the slot, but at age 35 when the season begins, his body and speed may not hold up.
Over the next few days and weeks, it will become apparent whether or not the Raiders are seriously considering Burress. Burress still possesses rare ability and size, which could help an NFL team. However, the Raiders have a deep talent pool at wide receiver that needs to see time on the field to maximize its potential.
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