The Panthers are rebuilding for the future, so it’s quite obvious that Plaxico Burress, at age 35, would not fit as a part of the team’s long-term plans. The main concern for the Panthers, however, is not just Burress’ age, but his behavior off the field. Burress served part of a two-year prison sentence for criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment for carrying a concealed gun into a club. Not to mention, Burress has been sued more than nine times throughout his pro career for various traffic violations. Clearly the last thing the Panthers need when rebuilding a team full of young promising talent is a post-prime veteran with a long rap sheet.
Nonetheless, the NFL is the National Football League – not the National Moral Character League – and it would be more important to evaluate how Burress would help the Panthers before dismissing him as a worthy pickup.
At 6-foot-5, Burress’ main contribution would be his red-zone production. He would be a huge target deep in opponent territory and a solid number two receiver opposite Steve Smith. However, the Panthers – who were 7th in the league in red-zone touchdowns – had no problem finishing off drives last season. Between Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Steve Smith and Greg Olsen, they have plenty of options in the red zone without adding Burress to the mix.
At 35, Plaxico Burress isn’t getting any younger. At best, he’s capable of playing two productive seasons inCarolina. On the other hand, Brandon LaFell has shown significant improvements over his two year tenure with the Panthers. This season will be his first chance to solidify his spot as the number two receiver for the foreseeable future. Additionally, David Gettis showed a lot of promise in 2010 prior to being placed on the IR for the entire 2011 season. The main issue with signing Burress is he would be taking away time and valuable experience for these young talented receivers. LaFell, in particular, needs a chance to show what he can do at the number two spot. Splitting time with Legedu Naanee last season and Gettis in 2010 has not allowed LaFell to demonstrate his full potential in his first two NFL seasons.
Burress’ age, price tag, (even if he decides to lower it) and off-the-field issues, along with the fact that he would take away valuable playing time from the young Carolina receivers, are the reasons why he just doesn’t make sense as a free agent pickup for the Panthers.
Visit Panthers 101 for more Carolina Panthers news, rumors and commentary.