The Giants owner stressed that the Giants are a "long ways" from a Burress reunion but that the first step toward that will come when Burress meets with head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese.
"The question is are we going to be able to move past the past and are we going to be able to live with each other moving forward," Mara, the team's CEO and co-owner, said in an interview with Mike Lupica on ESPN New York 1050. "That is going to be up to him, it is going to be up to the coach, general manager and then we got to get to the salary considerations."
"I think he is a different guy now," Mara added. "The question is can he live within the system here and then once we get past that, can we make his salary number fit within our salary cap? It really is a two-fold step and that begins tomorrow night."
Burress has been reinstated as a player in the NFL by commissioner Roger Goodell, a source told ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton on Thursday night. Burress was recently released from prison after serving close to two years on a gun-related incident in New York.
Mara said he will probably talk to Burress as well on Friday. ESPN senior NFL writer Chris Mortensen reports that Burress will likely visit with Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers after his sit-down with the Giants. According to Mortensen, Burress could be seeking an incentive-laced $10 million contract over two years.
The Giants have traded proposals with tight end Kevin Boss, according to a league source. The Giants are trying to bring back their tight end, who has said that New York is his first choice.
The Giants are also trying to re-sign running back Ahmad Bradshaw and wide receiver Steve Smith. They have been trying to free up cap space and are trying to restructure Brandon Jacobs' contract, which has $4.65 million due in base salary this season.
"We are trying to re-sign as many of our free agents as we can and we are looking to the free-agent market for other needs that we have," Mara said. "And I am not entirely convinced at all that is going to work at this point either. So we got a long way to go."
"We are trying to do something with Bradshaw but I am not sure where that is going to go."
Kiwanuka gives the Giants some flexibility when it comes to Osi Umenyiora, who wants a new contract and could potentially hold out. Umenyiora is scheduled to make a total of $8 million in the final two years of his deal.
Mara told Umenyiora during a break at a recent labor negotiation session that he wanted the defensive end to return. He just wants Umenyiora to have a face-to-face meeting with Reese.
Mara said the two had not met yet as of Thursday afternoon.
"We expect him to be here with the other veterans," said Mara, whose team reports on Friday. "I told him that I very much wanted him to continue being a Giant and want him out on that field as much as we have ever wanted him on that field. But he needs to go and sit down with Jerry Reese and close the door and talk things over man-to-man and then get back out there on the field and hopefully that will happen."
The Giants still have some areas they need to upgrade on the offensive line, defensive line and at linebacker.
Entering free agency, Mara said he was concerned about the Giants offensive line, which now could project to be Will Beatty at left tackle, David Diehl at left guard, Baas at center, Chris Snee at right guard and Kareem McKenzie at right tackle.
"I think going into this period our big concern was on the offensive line and particularly center," Mara said. "We had three centers hurt last year. We were really concerned about that position. I think we've addressed that by coming to terms with David Baas. We think he's a very, very good center and will help us enormously."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.