This just in per ESPN’s Adam Schefter; wide receiver Plaxico Burress is flying over to work out for the New England Patriots today. Playing in every regular season game last season for the New York Jets, Burress caught 45 passes for 612 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. At 6’5″, the 35-year-old veteran still has quite a bit to offer as a red zone threat.
A solid deep threat receiver, Burress averaged 13.6 yards per reception but only caught 46.9% of the passes thrown at him. That’s a tad bit better than his career average, but he usually connects on more deep throws. A decline is to be expected, and Burress can actually be an average No. 3 or 4 receiver for a team. There shouldn’t be much to worry about in terms of off-the-field incidents, especially since a deal with Burress will almost certainly be a low-risk, one-year deal at the veteran minimum.
Burress recently worked out for the Dallas Cowboys, and the team said that they would sign Burress if one of their current receivers is injured. They have interest in Burress, and he still has something left in the tank after an average year. He only has 6.4 yards per target, but he’s going to be the fourth or fifth receiving option on the team.
The Patriots currently have Deion Branch, Jabar Gaffney, and Dont’e Stallworth on the team. One of those guys is going to go, especially if Burress has a good workout. Gaffney used to play for the Patriots and is the most consistent of the three, but Stallworth has the most talent and has been the most impressive. Branch didn’t dress up for the first preseason game and is either injured or going to be cut. In fact, he will definitely be cut if something comes of the Pats interest in Burress.
This is pretty surprising stuff for the Patriots, but they did have Chad Johnson on the team last year. It didn’t work out, but Burress is a more consistent player with less concerns and is a hard worker. For the New York Giants, Eli Manning once remarked that Burress’s playbook had a lot of notes written in it. He can get an offense down, which is something Ochocinco really struggled with last season, and it’s why things didn’t workout well in New England. If Bill Belichick likes Burress’s workout enough, then I don’t see the problem with taking him over Branch.
In all honesty, only one guy is going to make the roster between Branch and Stallworth, so it’s going to take an impressive workout for Burress to make it. Branch won’t be too hard to beat out, but Stallworth might have the edge. Either way, the Patriots interest seems to be mild at this point; it’s just a tryout.