Burress Makes Us A Better Football Team

It might have taken longer than expected, but New York landed the prime free agent receiving target they sought all along, signing Plaxico Burress to a six-year, $25 million contract.

Burress, 6-5, 226, the eighth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, has 262 career receptions and has scored 22 touchdowns. He is the fifth veteran free agent signed by the Giants.

"He makes us a better football team, there's no doubt about that," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "He is a guy who has an imposing physical presence. And because he does have the ability to be a long-ball threat, he is a guy that will force defenses to pay particular attention to where he is. He has been used in the slot, he's been used in motion, and he is a big-play threat from any of those positions.

"He is a tremendous threat in the green zone. Anytime he's one-on-one, no matter what the coverage is, if you're only spending one defender on the guy, he has a knack for finding a way to get the ball. He's a big target. He can catch the ball with his hands above his head, which puts him well above most corners and most safeties."

In 2004, Burress led the 15-1 Steelers with five touchdown catches among his 35 receptions for 698 yards (a 19.9-yard average that was second in the NFL). He was hampered by a hamstring injury that forced him to miss five of the last six games, including a game against the Giants on December 18. Burress' best game was on October 10, when he caught six passes for 136 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland. He caught five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh's two postseason games, including three in the AFC Championship Game against New England.

"I'm definitely excited," Burress said. "I get an opportunity to go out and play with a great offense. Everybody knows about Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey. Hopefully, we can all grow to be a better team and a better offense. I look forward to getting here and working with Eli Manning. Hopefully, we'll get on the same page and Manning-to-Burress will become a big thing around here. It's going to be fun."

"I'm really excited to have Plaxico come aboard," Manning said. "I'm ready to come back next week and I'm looking forward to working together during the offseason program."

The Giants start their offseason program on Monday.

Burress first visited the Giants last week. After he met with coaches and members of the front office, the two sides failed to come to an agreement, and the Giants announced they had withdrawn their offer. But the two sides remained mutually interested, and following Burress' switch in representation to Drew Rosenhaus, contract discussions were revived yesterday and an agreement was reached last night.

"In free agency, when a player leaves our facility, we withdraw the offer and go on to other things," general manager Ernie Accorsi said. "We announced it this time because there had been so much attention directed at this negotiation that we wanted to make it clear to the public and in addition, we didn't want our offer taken on the road and shopped. When we resumed talks yesterday (Thursday), we went right back to the point we were at last week."

From that point, the two sides rapidly reached an agreement.

"We have had a history of finishing deals quickly with Drew Rosenhaus," Accorsi said. "He's a closer, doesn't waste time and gets to the point."...

As previously reported on TGI, the Giants also announced the re-signing of reserve running back Mike Cloud, which puts to bed the Giants' pursuit of a trade for Browns back William Green.

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