(Long Island, N.Y.) The transactions column for the NFL has been silent as the labor negotiations continue, but that hasn’t stopped a flurry of ‘activity’ from almost taking place. Such is the current situation everyone is in as briefcases and law manuals have taken the place of chalkboards and play books.
While awaiting the settlement, team front office personnel have had more than ample time to set their plan of attack. Free agents are in limbo and general managers will have to kick into high gear once the bell rings. But it certainly helps when a potential impact player sends more than smoke signals to become a part of your team.
Plaxico Burress may have made a bad decision and paid his dues to society for it, but that doesn’t take away the fact that the guy can play the game exceptionally well – when he feels like it. His tenure with the Giants was rocky to say the least, with Burress and head coach Tom Coughlin not seeing eye to eye on anything.
While that should raise some red flags, it certainly helps when your head coach is the antithesis of Major Tom. Rex Ryan is viewed as much more of a ‘player’s coach,’ and that has played a big part into the Jets’ success since the former Baltimore defensive coordinator came to the Big Apple.
On a recent appearance on ESPN Radio, Burress was upfront about his love for New York and the possibility of becoming a Jet. “It’s been thought about,” he told host Stephen A. Smith. “I am not going to sit here and front. For me to go to one side to the other side and win a championship in the same city, how many people have done that? And do I have the capability to lead a team to a championship? Without question.”
Two of those aforementioned free agents just happen to play the same position as Burress and have had their own off-the-field and character issues. Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes have both been productive during their stay here, but either or both are replaceable. Especially Edwards, with Burress being a very similar player. Both are tall and lanky and are effective going long on the sidelines, while Holmes is more of a slot receiver.
There will be a lot of rust that Burress must work off after spending 20 months in jail for gun possession, but he has a few good years left (he turns 34 in August) and will be hungry to prove that he is far from finished. Another issue will be the salary cap, with Edwards and Holmes both commanding expensive deals and Burress not having as much of a negotiating stance.
Even if Mike Tannenbaum does not want to add Burress or someone such as Randy Moss, he can use their availability to get the price down on Edwards and/or Holmes. The more options that are out there give the Jets general manager more negotiating power and all four possess the type of talent that a team close to a title would need on their roster.