Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brandon Marshall, Plaxico Burress, and What They Mean to You.

Will Brandon Bring This Awesome Kid With Him? There's a man who looks like a winner!

Most of the recent news surrounding Plaxico Burress seems to have the Bears as one of the four teams that have expressed interest in him. Brandon Marshall loves his former quarterback Jay Cutler and recently has become the second Denver Bronco to storm out and demand a trade. The Bears have a glaring hole at wide receiver that Earl Bennett and Devin Hester's Potential™ probably won't fill all that adequately. So what would be the potential pros and cons of adding either Plaxico or Marshall?

Plaxico's story is pretty long and complicated. Plax was drafted 8th overall by the Steelers in 2000, struggled his rookie year, had some pretty decent years in '02 and '03 and bitched his way out of town by constantly complaining about Bill Cowher's conservative offensive style. He signed with the Giants where between constantly feuding with Tom Coughlin and being the one reliable target for the erratic early years of Eli Manning he managed to catch a touchdown in the Superbowl (one of only two catches he made, but still). This year he started off poorly with a contract hold out, was suspended and fined 45,000 dollars by the team for breaking team rules and then ended his season after shooting himself in the leg when he confused sweat pants for a holster. He sounds perfect, I know.

On the field Plaxico is one hell of a deep threat, however. Throughout his career he's averaged 15.5 yards per catch and is 10th among all active players with 55 touchdown receptions. He's had four seasons of 1,000 yards receiving despite never having more than 78 catches in a single season. With Jay Cutler heaving him the ball, it could be a beautiful thing.

Brandon Marshall's connection with Jay Cutler is already well established. For the last two years, both Cutler and Marshall's first two seasons as full time starters, they've combined for 206 receptions, 2,590 yards and 13 touchdowns. Marshall averages a pretty healthy 12.8 yards per catch in his career. He has struggled mightily with dropped passes, especially last year, in which he dropped 18, something he blamed on nerve damage in his arm resulting from smashing it into a tv during a wrestling match with his brother. So that's something.

Marshall's off the field rapsheet is just plain awful, and I'm not gonna detailing all of it but the guy's been arrested or questioned by the cops at least eight times in the last two years, was suspended three games last year (he got it reduced to one by promising good behavior. Then he got arrested in March), and nearly all of the incidents are related to domestic violence against his girlfriend. So we're picking between the guy that shot himself or the guy that frequently abuses his girlfriend (though Burress has also been questioned for domestic violence in the past).

All things considered, the best bet for the Bears would be Plaxico. Marshall's already facing a probable suspension this upcoming season (Roger Goodell does not like to be lied to, see Johnson, Tank or Jones, Adam for details), and would require a raise and a much longer deal from any team that trades for him. With his frequent troubles one can expect that Marshall would become a problem if he stays around too long. Plaxico, however, seems to have gotten his trial put off until 2010 and would probably be willing to sign a one year deal or perhaps a one year + option deal and may represent the much smaller risk. With the Bears in what should be a "win now" mode, I would go for Plaxico, though, really, chances are they wont pick up either receiver. How about that Earl Bennett?