Veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress has made it known that there is “no doubt about it” when it comes to his desire to play for the Carolina Panthers. The tall wideout has been coming up with these sorts of teams throughout the offseason, and nobody he wants to play for has even shown interest back. The Panthers haven’t called Burress or his agent at this point, and some are speculating that Burress is just naming the Panthers so that he finally signs somewhere. I mean, his options are thin at this point.
The Panthers shouldn’t sign Burress, but it wouldn’t hurt if they did. The thing is, the Panthers don’t have a need for Plaxico- is that the name of the dinosaur at Publix?- now.
Some people say the Panthers lack talented pass-catchers behind Steve Smith, but that isn’t entirely true. They do lack a true No. 2 wideout, but Plaxico Burress is more of a No. 3 wideout at this point, and the Panthers have two equal or better receivers in Brandon LaFell and David Gettis who are both younger and have more upside. Gettis, in fact, is one player who broke out a two years ago before being injured last season. He will play a big role in the offense and could make the jump as a No. 2 wideout.
The Panthers also drafted Arkansas receiver Joe Adams, who had a successful college career and is a useful No. 4 starter. Greg Olsen is one of the best pure pass-catching tight ends in the league, which gives the Panthers three receivers who are better than Plaxico Burress in Smith, Gettis, and Olsen with LaFell being about as good as Burress but with more upside.
If the Panthers do go against all the odds and sign Plaxico Burress, then I don’t see the harm in giving him a cheap, incentive-laden one-year deal. If he busts, then the Panthers can get rid of him during the season or let him go after the year and only lose a little bit of money. Burress isn’t a good receiver anymore, but he’s still relatively productive. He’s a mismatch in the red zone at 6’5″ and caught eight touchdowns last year. Another telling statistic are his 38 first downs, which means that a whopping 84.4% of his catches went for a first down; he moves the chains.
At this point, it doesn’t look like Carolina has much interest in Burress at all, and I doubt he ends up signing there. The Panthers don’t have the need for another No.3 type receiver, but his ability to make plays in the red zone and move the chains would be of value to the Panthers. It wouldn’t be a bad deal by any means, but sometimes it’s better to save every penny, a roster spot, and stick with your guys. Besides, the Panthers need to give as many targets as they can to the young receivers to see what they have in them. Adding Plaxico Burress would take some targets away from Joe Adams, who is a rookie with some upside that needs to be evaluated by the team in year one and get that valuable experience that comes with the targets.
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