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NFL Rumor Central: Pleading Plax to avoid the clink?


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NFL Rumor Central: Pleading Plax to avoid the clink?

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Monday, March 30

Pleading Plax to avoid the clink?

Plaxico Burress | Giants

Although it appears unlikely that New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress will be convicted of the full crime with which he was charged - two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon - he may be facing some time in jail, a law enforcement source has told the New York Times.

John M. Caher, a spokesman for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, told the Times that in 2008, 986 similar cases were adjudicated in New York, 90 percent of which were pled down to a lesser charge. These could include third-degree possession or attempted possession, both of which require under two years mandatory jailtime, compared to the 3.5 years mandatory for a second-degree possession charge.

If Burress does somehow manage to avoid jailtime, he will likely face discipline from the NFL. After the incident last season, the team was the party responsible for suspending Burress, and the league might take that into account as time served. However, there will still likely be an additional penalty given the reckless nature of the incident in light of the NFL's stance on "conduct detrimental to the league".

All of this considered, you can expect the Giants to start the season with some combination of Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Domenik Dixon and Sinorice Moss as the receiving corps unless a trade is made or the team drafts Hakeem Nicks with the No. 29 overall pick in the draft, as Matt Mosley of ESPN.com's NFC East blog considers. The team is likely holding out hope that any jailtime or suspension handed down will be short enough so that Burress can return for part of the season and the playoffs.

Skins targeting Sanchez at No. 13?

Although needs along the offensive and defensive lines are more prevalent for the team this offseason, it's beginning to look like the Washington Redskins could be ready to invest the No. 13 pick in the NFL draft on Mark Sanchez.

During the initial few days of McJaygate, Redskins coach Jim Zorn indicated that the team did not have interest in trading for Jay Cutler, and Vinny Cerrato, the team's executive vice president of football operations, echoed that sentiment, telling the Washington Times that "Jason [Campbell] is going to be our quarterback this season."

But it's important to note the final two words in that statement. The Redskins may want to give Campbell one more chance this season while at the same time setting themselves up with his replacement in Sanchez. According to Pro Football Weekly, the team has put the USC quarterback through a private workout already, and is now in the process of performing due diligence.

While it would certainly make sense to draft a talented successor in Sanchez, the Skins might be in a tough spot if Andre Smith or Michael Oher are still on the board. Either man would be a suitable pick to supplement veterans Chris Samuels, who will turn 32 this summer, and Jon Jansen, who turned 33 in January. One player who probably hopes the team elects to boost the offensive line in the draft is Clinton Portis. Although Portis finished 2008 as the league's fourth-leading rusher with 1,487 yards, it took him 342 carries to get there. The 4.3 average yards per carry is in line with what he's produced as a member of the Redskins, but a far cry from the 5.5 yards per carry he averaged in his two seasons with the Denver Broncos.a

Bills to add veterans for depth?

With a need at guard, the Buffalo Bills might take a look at former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Kendall Simmons, according to Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News. Gaughan also notes that former Bills safety Lawyer Milloy, who spent 2008 with the Atlanta Falcons, is still a free agent thus far.

After releasing 2008 starting left guard Derrick Dockery, who was subsequently picked up by the Washington Redskins, the Bills are expected to give Kirk Chambers the first shot to be the starter at the position in 2009. Simmons, who injured his Achilles tendon in a game against the Baltimore Ravens in September, would likely only be signed if the Bills' medical staff determined that he could be productive after such a devastating injury.

In Milloy, the Bills would be adding a depth defensive back, not a source of big plays per se, but a player that has had 90 or more tackles the past three season with the Falcons, and who made 271 tackles for the Bills over the course of three seasons from 2003 to 2005. Milloy would likely not command a huge salary and could provide strong leadership for a young Bills secondary.

Friday, March 27

Patriots the front-runner for Taylor?

Jason Taylor | Redskins | Interested: Patriots?

With no resolution in sight for the Julius Peppers situation, the New England Patriots might be taking advantage of the fact that there is an older but similar player on the market, and they wouldn't have to wrangle a trade in order to acquire him.

Having been released nearly a month ago by the Washington Redskins, Jason Taylor is in no hurry to sign with a new team, but two sources have informed Yahoo! Sports that the Patriots are Taylor's top choice. According to the sources, Taylor sees New England as his best chance to win a Super Bowl ring, and he is aware of coach Bill Belichick's reputation of deftness in handling veteran players.

For the Patriots, a deal with Taylor makes sense for all the same reasons that a trade for Peppers would make sense. The team has a need for a disruptive pass-rusher, and while Taylor had somewhat of an off-year in 2008, it is believed by some that the reason for it was the defensive scheme in Washington as opposed to declining skills. For his part, Patriots owner Robert Kraft played coy about the situation at the NFL owners' meetings, saying of Taylor's potential with the team, "I'm sure that can happen if he wants it."

Another possibility to fill the role is the draft, and a report in the Boston Globe indicates that the team may use a first- or second-round pick on Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin, who led the Big East with 11 sacks in 2008. The added bonus with Barwin is that he played his first three seasons for Cincinnati as a tight end, and the team may have visions of him playing a role similar to Mike Vrabel, who was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this offseason.

Leon seeking bountiful extension

Leon Washington | Jets

Although the media's comparisons of him to Darren Sproles were not to his liking as much as his self-comparisons to Dave Meggett and Gale Sayers, Leon Washington is certainly an entertaining player, one that could be the key to the New York Jets' success for the present and for the post-Thomas Jones future. Because of his intent to "revolutionize the game", he tells Rich Cimini of the New York Daily News that he expects to be rewarded with a solid upgrade to his current contract, a pact that expires after the 2009 season.

A tantalizing player in fantasy football for the past two seasons, Washington's versatility had Cimini checking his old stat books, to find out how closely Leon's first three years in the NFL compared to Philadelphia Eagles "everything-man" Brian Westbrook's. While Westbrook's numbers in the set offense were greater across the board, Washington has a distinct advantage with his return yardage.

Although Jones is currently holding out from the Jets' off-season program in order to try and finagle a new contract out of the team, it is expected he'll be ready to go in time for the season. The Jets will need both backs to be healthy enough to get a lot of touches this season considering the "open competition" they'll hold for the role of quarterback, and the uncertainty of facing a tough AFC East division with Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff or Erik Ainge under center.

Phillips coaching for his job this season?

Wade Phillips | CowboysWhile Jean-Jacques Taylor of the Dallas Morning News devoted some column space this morning as to the reasons why Wade Phillips shouldn't and won't have his contract extended, his colleage Calvin Watkins has reported that Phillips has not requested an extension yet, and the team has not opened any discussions on the matter either.

To say the Cowboys were a vast disappointment in 2008 would be a disservice to other vast disappointments. After finishing 2007 at 13-3 and carrying the No. 1 seed in the NFC into the postseason, the team was dispatched by the New York Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs. But at least they could say they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions. In 2008, with the roster largely intact, they failed to make the playoffs and suffered an embarrassing defeat in Week 17 to the Philadelphia Eagles, a loss that sealed their fate as outsiders in the playoff picture. According to Taylor, Phillips declined to talk to the team after the season-ending defeat, and it left some players with a bad taste in their mouths.

Heading into 2009, Phillips will be certainly be on the hot seat, and any extended run of bad performances will bring forth a litany of questions as to his job security. Even for the coach of a team that's always in the spotlight, that will certainly wear on the 61 year-old.

If Phillips is fired, it has been rumored that Mike Shanahan will be brought in to replace him.

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