Agent: 'Giants are very much appealing to Plaxico'

Updated: March 7, 2005, 11:21 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Free agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress will visit the New York Giants on Monday to discuss becoming the deep threat that Eli Manning so desperately needs.

Plaxico Burress
Wide Receiver
Pittsburgh Steelers
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Rec Yds TD Avg Long YAC
35 698 5 19.9 48 92

Burress' agent, Michael Harrison, told The Associated Press Sunday that his client will leave from Miami on Monday morning and spend the afternoon in New York.

"The Giants are very much appealing to Plaxico," Harrison said. "They have some of the key things we're looking for."

Harrison said Burress, who has been talking with several teams including the Minnesota Vikings, wants to go to a team with a good tight end, good running back and good quarterback.

However, a push for Burress isn't in the cards for the Vikings, The Star Tribune reported Monday. The paper reports that the team has discussed a trade for Redskins receiver Rod Gardner instead.

With Jeremy Shockey at tight end, Tiki Barber at running back and an emerging Manning throwing the ball, the Giants qualify.

Whether the Giants back up their seeming interest in Burress with an attractive contract offer remains to be seen. ESPN.com has learned that, during a discussion last week, Giants officials casually floated some contract parameters, not a formal proposal, but more a suggestion. The numbers: six years for $21 million, with a signing bonus of about $4 million.

Those seem low for Burress, whose agent said last week he was hoping to land a deal superior to the six-year, $30 million contract former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad signed with the Chicago Bears last weekend. That contract, worth $16 million over its first three years, included $12 million in guarantees.

Burress, who spent the last five seasons with Pittsburgh, would bring his considerable size and big-play ability to a Giants offense that sorely needs both.

Starting receivers Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard had sub-par seasons, failing to catch a touchdown pass. Toomer is coming off a hamstring injury that bothered him for most of the season, and Hilliard was released Thursday after never fulfilling the promise he had when the Giants drafted him seventh overall out of Florida in 1997.

"They need a No. 1 receiver," Harrison said. "Plus, it's New York City and Plaxico is a very marketable guy."

Burress is the biggest name receiver left on the free-agent market. At 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds, the five-year veteran has the size and speed to get down the field and catch the fade pattern in the end zone, which no doubt is attractive to Manning heading into his first full season as a starter.

His best season came in 2002, when he had 78 catches for 1,325 yards and seven TDs. But an injury last season and quarterback inconsistencies contributed to lower numbers in 2003 and 2004.

Giants owner Wellington Mara was hugely disappointed by last season's 6-10 record, saying he was glad the season was over and the only solution appeared to be to "get better players."

With that, the Giants have been one of the most active teams in free agency, signing linebacker Antonio Pierce from Washington for $26 million and giving Jets tackle Kareem McKenzie $37.75 million to protect Manning.

ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report.

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