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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Plaxico in Tampa? Move doesn't fit Bucs' master plan

There's been a fair amount of speculation this week about the eventual destination of former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress, released this week from prison in New York after serving nearly two years for a firearm offense.

Burress fully intends to play football this year, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus, and much of the speculation has included the Bucs as a possible landing place for the one-time New York star.

Here's why this doesn't make sense. While some have suggested the Bucs' receiving corps could use a veteran because the group is so young, this is the exact reason why adding an aging veteran whose skills have probably eroded doesn't seem smart. If the Bucs were to sign Burress, it would take away from the playing time and development of the very receivers he presumably would be trying to help.

There would seem to be little point in signing Burress to watch, so assuming he played a significant role, he'd do so at the expense of, say, Dez Briscoe. He's just one of several young Bucs receivers who gave a glimpse of their upside last season. Arrelious Benn, who is making an impressive recovery from a season-ending knee injury, is another player who began to wow late last season. And we don't even know what Preston Parker is capable of yet. Heck, Sammie Stroughter is looking to have a bounce-back season and even tight end Kellen Winslow probably wouldn't mind a few more chances to be split out wide.

Furthermore, while the Bucs are always linked to the hot free agent on the market, there's little recent history that indicates they'd be interested. If the Bucs have been consistent at anything in the first two years of the Raheem Morris-Mark Dominik regime, it's going young. If the Bucs have a choice between a veteran player and a younger player, with the talent level being equal, bank on them signing the young guy.

The Bucs in the past two years haven't had a significant signing of a player older than 28 at the time of the transaction. That's how old safety Sean Jones was when he was signed to a two-year free agent contract last year. Outside of that, only Keydrick Vincent (32 at the time) comes to mind in terms of older players acquired by Dominik/Morris. And as you know, Vincent lasted, what, two months?

Burress, by the way, turns 34 in August and would instantly become the second-oldest player on the Bucs' roster behind Ronde Barber. Let that marinate for a minute.

You can never rule out anything with the Bucs, who have taken their share of chances. They traded for Kellen Winslow, added LeGarrette Blount when no one wanted him and drafted Mike Williams and DaQuan Bowers when apparently no one else was willing. But those moves all made sense for the Bucs, mostly because of a lack of depth at those positions.

The possible addition of Burress, however, just doesn't add up. If the Bucs do go there, it would be a major departure from the past and, perhaps, affect the performance of their young receivers in the future.

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 4:12pm]


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