It certainly wasn’t the biggest kept secret. The one that had Nnamdi Asomugha going to the Jets. In fact, it was probably one of the least discreet free agent pursuits for a marquee player in Jets history. The lessons learned however, in watching the sly Andy Reid Eagles swoop in to steal the NFL’s top corner on the market by laying low in the shadows, were put in play this morning. The Jets landed Plaxico Burress, the big tall second wide receiver they desperately needed, in less obvious fashion. They didn’t break the bank to do it either.
Burress, who led the Giants to the Super Bowl shocker over the undefeated Pats in 2008, and owner of 55 NFL TDs, became a Jet this morning for one year and three million dollars. This DESPITE word that the scheduled meeting between the two parties had been “called off.” Burress was in demand. He had completed two positive visits this week already with former employers the Giants and Steelers. The 49ers were said to be waiting for a scheduled meeting with Burress as well. No need for that meeting now.
Perhaps by dimming the spotlight on a situation quickly growing dire for Gang Green (unproven Packers WR James Jones, a player with upside starting potential, was being talked about as a serius contender for the role) the Jets were able to focus, take aim, and grab hold of a much needed piece of the puzzle.
To land Burress, it may have taken a misdirection. An end around. A playing of possum that allowed the Jets time and the chance to make a serious pitch to Burress away from the camera’s eye. Not the detectable three step drop and downfield staring with tunnel vision that came back to bite the Jets late Friday night when “Aso” became an Eagle. A disastrous ending to a high speed chase that caused the Jets, who the media outed as having been at work restructuring deals and cutting salaries to make room for Asomugha, to quickly regroup and form an option B. That being a “no huddle” contingency plan whose goal was to fill the remaining position holes before the free agency clock showed nothing but zeros.
Comparing Braylon Edwards (whose cost would’ve been alot higher even though many Jet fans wanted to see him back in Green and White) to Burress, and the most obvious issues are rust and age. Plax has been in jail the past two seasons and at 33, is five years older than Edwards. However, at the time that Burress left the game after the ‘09 season, few were arguably better at his position.
The Jets can now see the Asomugha drama simply as point taken, starter gained. Should Burress be in top shape, and choose to play the entire 2011 season with a chip on his shoulder, then we may soon be upgrading the viewpoint of today’s signing to one of a serious offensive weapon gained by Rex Ryan’s Jets. Regardless of how it turns out on the field, the addition of Burress was a nice adjustment by the Jets as far as courting players more quietly. During what has been a loud and wild free agency period.