Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning that free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress has signed a one-year, fully guaranteed, $3.017 million contract with the New York Jets.
There had been much chatter this week about Burress -- who was released from prison last month after serving two years for firing an unlicensed gun in a New York nightclub -- possibly returning to the Giants, with whom he won the Super Bowl four years ago. Burress had said unflattering things about Giants coach Tom Coughlin in a post-release interview, but the Giants made a push to sign him anyway and he met with Coughlin on Friday night at the team's training facility in New Jersey.
But Burress never backed off his comments, and all along I told you I believed he was only using the Giants' interest as leverage to get what he wanted from a team whose coach he didn't dislike. He visited the Steelers on Saturday and apparently also had some nice conversations with the Jets, who are cutting ties with Braylon Edwards and needed a replacement.
There had also been some discussion about Burress and the Eagles, since Philadelphia seems to be signing every free agent in the world and Burress was very public about his desire to play for them. But there was never any indication from the Eagles that the interest was mutual.
For the Jets, this has to be a money move. They re-signed receiver Santonio Holmes last week, and they need money to re-sign cornerback Antonio Cromartie and for a new deal for linebacker David Harris. Edwards surely would have cost more than one year and $3.017 million, and Burress replaces him in the role of big-bodied downfield threat for Mark Sanchez. It seems a little bit of a downgrade, since Burress is an unknown quantity after two years in prison and the Jets and Edwards had a very nice relationship for the past two years. Edwards played well for the Jets and (other than his early-season DUI arrest last year) seemed to have kept his head on straight as a teammate and a reliable contributor. He should get a much larger deal elsewhere than what Burress just got from the Jets.
As for the Giants, their interest in Burress likely had something to do with Steve Smith's knee injury and the fact that they still haven't re-signed him. The Giants' losing out on Burress could help Smith's leverage and/or prod the Giants to look at Edwards or some of the other wideouts still on the market.
Regardless, while the Giants were interested in Burress, it doesn't look as if he was really ever interested in returning to play for them.