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Free Agent Focus: Plaxico Burress — Will he return?

Mark Kaboly | Tribune-Review
The Steelers head into the offseason with now 17 unrestricted free agents after signing Justin King and six restricted free agents. We will take a look at each individual player up until free agency starts on March 12.

Name: Plaxico Burress

Contract status: Free agent

Position: Wide receiver

Height: 6-5

Weight: 232

*Age: 36

Experience: 11

Wide receivers on the current roster: Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, David Gilreath, Bert Reed, Derek Moye

Free agent wide receivers: Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders (RFA)
2011 season: Despite not playing for nearly a year, Plaxico Burress was signed at the end of November for the veteran’s minimum salary because the Steelers were going through major injuries issues at wide receiver with Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery hurt. Burress played four games, saw limited snaps and caught only three passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. Still, Burress did produce in his limited number of opportunities. A pass interference call in the end zone in Cleveland during his first game with the team set up a Steelers’ touchdown, and he caught two pretty passes in the season-finale against the Browns, including a fourth-quarter touchdown. Burress was inactive for two games.

What about this: Burress started three of the four games he played for the Steelers, but took part in only 34 total snaps.

What the Steelers should do with Burress: If it was up to the Steelers, which it likely won’t be, they should asked Burress back to provide leadership and depth to a position that is in dire need of both. However, it would have to be at the right price – one-year, vet minimum deal again. It’s not a secret the Burress wanted to get on a roster last year so he could show that he could still play and that he could be a team player. In my opinion, Burress showed both of that last year, and if he is willing to come back for not much money, the Steelers would welcome him with open arms.

What the Steelers will do with Burress: The question should be what does Burress want to do. If Burress gets any kind of offer from any of the other 31 NFL teams, he would likely jump at the opportunity. Burress still feels that he can be at least a No. 2 in the league or at worst, a No. 3 receiver. If he comes back with the Steelers, he would be no better than a No. 4, and in the Steelers’ offense, the No. 4 receiver doesn’t see much field time. Ultimately, I do believe that Burress can help a team more than the 34 snaps he was afforded with the Steelers last year and he will sign somewhere else. But as I stated before, if he wants to come back for the same deal he had last year monetarily and play-time wise, he should be more than welcomed. With Burress, it is going to be up to him, not the organization.
* Age at start of 2013 season

Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly covers the Pittburgh Steelers for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 250 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer, and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

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