Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Free Agents Analysis – WR Plaxico Burress – Unrestricted

By Matthew Marczi

Player: Plaxico Burress

Position: Wide Receiver

Experience: 12 Years

Free Agent Status: Unrestricted

2013 Salary Cap Hit: $620,000

2013 Season Breakdown: When Plaxico Burress was first released from prison in 2011, the Pittsburgh Steelers were interested in bringing him back, but he instead signed with the New York Jets, who offered him more guaranteed money.

In 2012, Burress couldn’t even find a team—which actually made his decision to take the guaranteed money look even more like a wise one—until the Steelers fell into a rash of injuries at the wide receiver position, and he ended up playing the last few games of the season. He even caught a few passes, with a touchdown in the season finale, in a very limited role.

When free agency rolled around, the Steelers re-signed Burress immediately to a one-year contract. The team clearly felt that he was a strong locker room presence, and it also somewhat assuaged their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has not only long campaigned for a big receiver, but is friends with Burress.

That, however, doesn’t mean that Burress was a lock to make the roster out of training camp, and in fact, as well all know, he wasn’t even able to finish training camp, as he tore a rotator cuff after being out-jumped for a ball in practice in early August. He didn’t even make it to the preseason.

The Steelers instead carried the 6’6” Derek Moye on the roster as the fifth receiver, who did make use of his height on a pair of nice catches during the season, including one in the end zone, though he also dropped another potential touchdown pass.

With the also-tall-but-not-Derek-Moye-tall Justin Brown stashed on the practice squad, it wasn’t even clear that Burress would be able to unseat either one for a roster spot last year, let alone this year, though in fairness he could likely have been considered the front-runner for the spot at the time of his injury.

Free Agency Outlook: If the Steelers do decide to re-sign Burress again, it will be almost purely as a charity case with no guaranteed money of any kind, and I wouldn’t expect him to make the roster. Burress will be 37 by the time the 2014 season starts, and he will be coming off surgery on his rotator cuff.

While Burress has purportedly been a ‘good locker room guy’, there are some questions lingering. Is he really much of a veteran presence? Consider the fact that rookie Markus Wheaton went to Jerricho Cotchery for advice and a role model.

Others in the media, chiefly Jim Wexell, have implied that Burress’ work ethic is lacking, which is not something to showcase to young players on the field. Whether or not he’s a positive attribute off the field, if he’s not benefitting the team on the practice field, he’s not going to benefit the team in stadiums. This is almost assuredly the end of the road for Burress.

Other Steelers Free Agent Player Analysis
Ryan Clark – Unrestricted Free Agent
Emmanuel Sanders – Unrestricted Free Agent
Brett Keisel – Unrestricted Free Agent
Jerricho Cotchery – Unrestricted Free Agent
Ziggy Hood – Unrestricted Free Agent
Jason Worilds – Unrestricted Free Agent
David Johnson – Unrestricted Free Agent
Jonathan Dwyer – Unrestricted Free Agent
Fernando Velasco – Unrestricted Free Agent
Cody Wallace – Unrestricted Free Agent
Will Allen – Unrestricted Free Agent
Stevenson Sylvester – Unrestricted Free Agent
Felix Jones – Unrestricted Free Agent
Al Woods – Unrestricted Free Agent

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • steeltown

    Don’t even waste a roster spot, he came back to the Burgh caught a TD pass from Ben in the last game of the year back in ’12..that would’ve been a nice way to go out, but now its just this lingering issue. If they didn’t want Ward at 36yrs of age why on earth would they want Burress at 37yrs and don’t give me the redzone threat argument, we just need to draft accordingly and hope Wheaton, Moye and J.Brown can take the next step

  • HopalongCassidy

    There is no harm in bringing him to camp.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I have nothing to add to this comment. Yup.

  • David Edward

    It’s time for Plax to retire


    Ditto…that ship has sailed…he should really thank Tomlin for the $600k retirement gift.

  • Jay Jaber

    I really think plax has another year left in him(red zone receiver only) yes he’s gonna be 37 but he missed like 4 years of football. He can still go up for jump balls or he can be used as a decoy

  • Jay Jaber

    I would like to see him back. Just give him one last chance

  • NW86

    That’s what they thought last year. Then he tore his rotator cuff in August and they wound up paying him $940K to spend the year on IR.

  • dgh57

    You’ll change your mind once Training Camp starts and after you’ve had a chance to see all the promising and younger upcoming talent we’ll have on board!

  • dgh57

    He had his last chance last year but unfortunately it was met by a injury.

  • Ken

    I was a big fan of Derrick Moye in the preseason, but he couldn’t seem to get open at all… I’m thinking we may need a new crop of tall receivers to pick from.

  • westernsteel

    I hope this is the last off season we have to hear about this guy. I would think a younger talent would interest the Steelers, especially if Cotchery can come back for a couple years.