Drew Rosenhaus has dedicated six Twitter posts already today to Plaxico Burress. The PR machine is in overdrive. He's trying to hammer home the point that Burress will be available for the entire 2009 football season after he appeared briefly in New York court this morning and had his case adjourned until Sept. 23.
Burress' lawyer Benjamin Brafman said outside court that a trial for his client likely wouldn't take place until 2010 and that several teams were trying to sign Burress.
"We are also confident that the NFL will not have grounds to discipline Plex until after the adjudication of his case after this season,'' Rosenhaus wrote.
That's the other wild card in the matter. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could choose to suspend Burress at any time for violation of the league's personal conduct policy. In the past, suspensions for first-time offenders like Burress have come after the court system has laid down its ruling. But the league reserves the right to do whatever it chooses, and that uncertainty might make teams think twice about Burress right now.
One league insider suggested Burress had the opportunity to wrap up the entire process already, and choosing to delay it has made him less attractive. The point was he's going to show up with baggage as it is. If there is a court case and potential jail time hanging over his head, he's going to show up with twice as much baggage. Here's one report that interest by the New York Jets in Burress has cooled.
Still, you cannot discount Burress' ability and the Bears' need for help. General manager Jerry Angelo said he would have drafted a wide receiver in the first round had he not traded for quarterback Jay Cutler. Then, he tried to deal his second-round pick to Arizona for Anquan Boldin. Angelo has identified the need and nothing that has taken place in OTA's for three weeks has changed that need.
Burress would give the Bears a wide receiver who can operate outside the numbers and provide a proven big-play threat for Cutler. The Bears drafted Juaquin Iglesias, Johnny Knox and Derek Kinder. At best, two of them will be complementary targets. Cutler has quickly developed a rapport with tight end Greg Olsen and he may become a go-top target. A productive tight end can't be substituted for a No. 1 wide receiver.
Angelo has been making decisions that prove the Bears are going for it now. Signing left tackle Orlando Pace isn't a stop-gap measure, it's a win-now move. Adding Pisa Tinoisamoa with Nick Roach and Hunter Hillenmeyer already in place isn't a stop-gap measure or a move to add depth. It's a win-now move. Angelo knows where he is at. He has a young quarterback, a young running back an offensive line in transition, and a defense that doesn't have a lot of time left. Is the Bears' defense going to fall off the table in 2009? No. The belief is Lovie Smith will re-energize a unit in need of a kick in the pants. Will the Bears' defense be done after 2010? Maybe not. But you don't have to flip through the media guide to know this much--the core of this unit is no longer young.
Adding Burress would be a popular move in the locker room. Devin Hester said he would be behind it. Tight end Desmond Clark, a leader in the locker room, supported the notion. Playing in New York would make it easier for Burress to negotiate through his legal issues. Playing for the Bears might give him a better shot at getting back to the Super Bowl. There's a risk associated with signing him, no question. What Angelo has to answer for himself is what is the risk going into 2009 without Burress?