New York Giants: Best Free Agent Signing of All Time
The 2005 New York Giants were riddled with question marks after consecutive losing seasons. The team had no first round pick in the upcoming draft after trading it away as part of a package for Eli Manning the previous year. With limited high value picks and the pressure to win, the front office knew that it was important to make a big splash in free agency. While the Giants added several pieces including Antonio Pierce and Kareem McKenzie, the biggest and most important signing of the year was the talented, yet troubled wide receiver Plaxico Burress. After it was all said and done, Burress turned out to have a bigger impact than any other free agent signing in franchise history.
Prior to signing with the Giants, Burress was coming off five seasons with the Pittsburg Steelers where he looked like an emerging star in the league. The Giants, in need of a true number one wide receiver, decided to gamble on the controversial player. On March 17th, 2005, Burress and the Giants agreed to a 6 years $25 Million contract. While Burress would never play out the end of the contract, the impact he made in his four seasons with the team is undeniable.
Many view Plaxico’s time with the Giants negatively due to the legal issues that landed him in jail for two years and derailed the team’s quest to repeat in 2008. Despite the unfortunate turn of events, it is important to remember all that Burress contributed to the Giants during his four-year stint. The addition of Burress in 2005 resulted in a transformation of the offense and a playoff appearance during his first season. Manning, only in his second year at the time was able to come in to his own having a safety blanket in the 6”5’ Burress. Burress gave the Giants their first true number one wide receiver in years. In that first season, Burress led the Giants with 1,276 receiving yards on 76 receptions and 7 touchdowns.
Burress would continue his elite catch making ways the following two years, one again leading the Giants in those categories culminating with a Super Bowl 42 victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots. Burress has one of the signature moments in Giants history when he caught the game-winning pass from Eli Manning with 35 seconds remaining in Super Bowl 42.
While many Giants fans will hold his untimely departure against him, it would be almost impossible to ignore all he did for the Giants while a member of the team. Burress finished his stint with the Giants with 244 catches for 3,681 yards and 33 touchdowns. He was a true difference member and a huge part of why the Giants were able to turn it around when he arrived. The Giants made the playoffs in all four years he was with the team, won their first Super Bowl in seventeen years, all while having Burress as the centerpiece of the offense. This is why I believe Plaxico Burress is the best free agent signing by the New York Giants of all time.