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News » Burress break-up is best for everyone

Burress break-up is best for everyone

Burress break-up is best for everyone
On Mondays during the NFL offseason, FOXSports.com senior NFL writer Alex Marvez will address the big moves of the preceding week, the big storylines of the upcoming week and the draft, and free agency implications for both.

Storyline of the Week

Plaxico Burress is a free agent after being released Friday by the New York Giants.

It says something when your best week in 2009 includes a pink slip and court case.

Burress, though, actually has a brighter future now than when a felony weapons charge was filed against him last December following a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a New York City nightclub.

  • Minnesota. The Vikings failed to upgrade their receiving corps when free agent T.J. Houshmandzadeh signed with Seattle instead. Burress and Bernard Berrian would create coverage headaches. The Vikings also could survive if Burress fell off-track because of sufficient depth with Bobby Wade and Sydney Rice.

  • Chicago. Now that the Bears have their franchise quarterback in Jay Cutler, the next step is adding a scoring threat besides Devin Hester. Burress fits the bill. He could be Chicago's version of Brandon Marshall.

  • Oakland. Yeah, the whole "outlaw image" connection makes sense. But the Raiders would sign a choir boy if it meant upgrading a lousy receiver unit.

    Until his legal situation becomes clearer, I wouldn't expect to see Burress heavily courted. Burress is expected back in court June 15 after his case was continued last week.

    That doesn't mean he'll keep a low profile. He already was spotted Saturday in Detroit cheering on his beloved Michigan State men's basketball team in the Final Four. I suspect he'll be at tonight's finale against North Carolina.

    I can't blame Burress for attending. I'd also be longing to relive those carefree college days if in the same mess.

    Cause and effect

    Chicago trading three draft choices (first-rounders in 2009 and 2010 and a 2009 third-rounder) as well as quarterback Kyle Orton to Denver for Cutler and a 2009 fifth-round pick.

    The cause: After decades of instability at the position, the Bears jumped at the chance to acquire a third-year quarterback coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance.

    The effect: To outbid other suitors like Washington and Tampa Bay, Chicago was forced to offer the highest compensation for any NFL player since 2002. That's when Miami acquired running back Ricky Williams from New Orleans for two first-round picks and a swap of fourth-rounders.

    In the long haul, New Orleans got the better end of the deal and made amends for the mistake of trading its entire 1999 draft class and a 2000 first-rounder to Washington for the chance to select Williams.

    Williams won a rushing title in his first season with the Dolphins and gained 1,372 yards in 2003 but Miami didn't make the playoffs either year. In the past five seasons, Williams has rushed for only 1,417 yards combined. He has missed 51 of a possible 80 games because of NFL drug suspensions, injury and a one-season "retirement." Williams' abrupt decision to walk away just before the start of the 2004 preseason helped doom Dave Wannstedt, the head coach and de facto general manager who spearheaded the trade.

    Without a first-round pick in 2003, the Dolphins were unable to address major needs at wide receiver and their offensive and defensive lines with blue-chip talent. Whiffing on oft-injured linebacker Eddie Moore, a 2003 second-round pick, and carelessly trading other picks for mediocre players compounded the problem.


    News and rumors:

    • Giants cut WR Burress
    • Vick's bankruptcy plans rejected
    • Sources: Broncos trade Cutler to Bears
    • Redskins re-sign DE Daniels
    • Cody joins Super Mario in Houston


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    Player Trackers:

      Track offseason moves by your favorite team and division.

    The Bears now face similar challenges even if Cutler excels. Striking gold in the next two drafts, especially with late-round steals, will take on added importance as Chicago tries to compensate for the bounty that was surrendered. That means the Bears can't afford more busts with recent early selections like defensive end Dan Bazuin (2007 second round) and running backs Cedric Benson (2005 first) and Garrett Wolfe (2007 third).

    The Bears also need to find a new backup quarterback with Orton gone and Rex Grossman unlikely to return. Caleb Hanie, a 2008 college free agent from Colorado State, isn't ready to handle the role.

    Draft Watch: Boston College DT B.J. Raji

    He will trigger the classic "character vs. talent" debate among franchises needing defensive line help. The 6-2, 337-pound Raji is clearly the top interior player in this year's draft. But according to Sports Illustrated's Web site, Raji failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine. Raji also reportedly failed drug tests for marijuana while at Boston College, where he was academically ineligible for the 2007 season. His play warrants a top-10 selection but Raji may slide if teams have concerns about how he would handle being paid an eight-digit signing bonus.

    Free Agent Watch: OLB Jason Taylor

    At this time last year, Taylor was dancing with the stars. The tune Taylor is humming to himself this offseason is Billy Idol's "Dancing with Myself." Taylor, 34, remains unsigned since February's release by Washington.

    The fact Miami has the chance to re-sign Taylor after sending him to the Redskins last summer for a 2009 second-round pick shows how badly Washington was fleeced. That selection also could have been the difference in besting Chicago's trade offer to acquire Cutler from the Broncos.

    New England seems the best fit for a player better served as a 3-4 outside linebacker than 4-3 end at this point in his NFL career. The Patriots need pass-rush help and coach Bill Belichick is fond of veteran players, especially those who have experienced success against New England. Other teams, including Miami, could surface as suitors if unable to land a pass-rusher in the draft and Taylor is still available.

    Taylor isn't hanging around waiting for his cell phone to ring. Besides pursuing projects to prepare for life after football, Taylor remains active with his charity foundation. He will host a free two-day football camp for 100 underprivileged youth this week in Fort Lauderdale.

    Week in Review

  • Big winner: NBC. That Chicago vs. Green Bay match-up for the Sunday night season-opener looks a lot more appealing than it did two weeks ago when it was announced. FOX should be thrilled as well since Cutler is switching to an NFC team.

  • Big loser: Jason Campbell. The quarterback learned how the Redskins regard him when Washington pursued Cutler. How both sides deal with the fallout could greatly affect their fates in 2009.

  • Under-the-radar move: Chicago signing free-agent left tackle Orlando Pace to a three-year contract. While overshadowed by the Cutler trade, this was an important acquisition. For at least one season, the 33-year-old Pace should be able to effectively protect Cutler's blindside. 2008 first-round pick Chris Williams and recent free-agent signing Kevin Shaffer will now compete at right tackle, with Frank Omiyale converting back to left guard. The Pace and Shaffer signings have given Chicago more depth and options along an offensive line that needed attention during the offseason, especially after the retirement of left tackle John Tait.

    Highlights from this month's calendar

    Monday (April 6): Minnesota and Houston begin their offseason conditioning programs. Vikings quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who was acquired in a February trade with Houston, arrived early in Minneapolis to begin preparing to compete with Tarvaris Jackson for a starting spot.

    April 17: The last day for restricted free agents to sign tender offers with other teams.

    April 25-26: NFL draft in New York City.

  • Author:Fox Sports
    Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
    Added: April 6, 2009

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