OXNARD, Calif. –You know, the Cowboys could really use about 45 catches, 612 yards and eight touchdowns out of their third wide receiver.
But the last thing this team needs is the distraction, perceived from the outside or otherwise, that would come with adding Plaxico Burress to the roster. That's why, despite Thursday's wild goose chase, the Cowboys probably won't be going down the Burress road. Not now, and not in September, when even the Joneses admit the club will be comparing available talent to the young receivers already on the roster.
By then, surely there will be a player available who is just as capable as Burress, who will come in without the media hype and personal expectation of a certain number of targets from Tony Romo. Look around. The Packers, in particular, are likely to release a wide out better than Burress, who will be 35 on Sunday. The guy with the mustache wasn't sent to cover Laurent Robinson's first practice in Dallas, and for this team at this time, avoiding that should be the goal.
Some years ago, this was the exact thing the Cowboys would do, but not anymore. Since Jason Garrett took over the club, it's been all business, no frills, old-school football. The last thing Garrett wants is to stand at the podium and field 12 questions in a row about Burress – how many passes will Burress get? Did you want to bring him in, or was it all Jerry? What effect will he have on Dez?
This simply isn't the kind of move Garrett would sign off on, which matters a lot. He doesn't have the general manager title, but no personnel move has occurred here in the 21 months since Garrett took over that he didn't approve.
Garrett wants to win, and he isn't obtuse enough to dismiss the idea simply on principle. He would certainly consider the evidence that Burress has put his past behind him. And I imagine he would compare Tony Romo to Mark Sanchez and conclude that Burress would probably put up even better numbers in Dallas than he did with the Jets.
It would kind of make sense if you're worried about the "window," thinking this season is the last, best opportunity to win a championship that the Cowboys will have in the foreseeable future.
But Garrett doesn't think like that. He's trying to open the window beyond the Romo-Witten-Ware-Ratliff era. That's why one of his first orders of business was to rebuild on the offensive line, dismissing all those veterans last year and this year.
The free agents the Cowboys have brought in are young guys just entering their prime, not thirtysomethings with one last good run in them, maybe. In the meantime, the Cowboys have used draft weekend to add a young core that, if everything goes right, can lead them into the next decade: Sean Lee, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray, Morris Claiborne, Dan Bailey.
Adding Burress or any big-name, big-headline receiver would simply disrupt The Process of this team's evolution.