Please see this article in ESPN.com about the lawyer for Burress, Ben Brafman, trying to get Burress off with a lesser charge. This is the only way it can work for Plaxico to avoid jail time - if the charges are changed to a 3rd degree gun possession charge before Burress enters his plea next Tuesday. Once the plea is entered, and it is locked in that the charge against him is 2nd degree felony gun possession, he's cooked. This is the charge that carries with it a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 1/2 years. But if the charge is changed to 3rd degree possession, it is still a D-class felony, which means that it can not be plead down to a misdemeanor. But, some of those charged with 3rd degree possession actually avoid jail time and get only probation. It is not a majority of the cases, so even if it is reduced to 3rd degree, Burress is still not home free. There is a fourth degree gun possession charge in NYS that is a misdemeanor. About 25% of those charged with 3rd degree possession are given only probation, while others receive some jail time. NYS in the borough of Manhattan has a very high conviction rate on these gun possession charges, so if it goes to trial, he's in a load of trouble.
But even if the charge gets reduced to 2nd degree gun possession charges, AND he makes a deal where he is on probation for 18 or 24 months, he will surely get suspended by the NFL for violating the personal conduct policy. How long will the suspension be? I would suspect it would be a minimum of 4 games and could be as much as an entire season. If I were a betting man I would guess it would be 6-8 games. This is the best case for Burress and I think it is a low likelihood, even though he does have a very capable criminal lawyer defending him.
I saw some other writers pick up on the same thing that I said earlier - that Reese has said the Giants would welcome Burress back, but Coughlin has been somewhat less that open armed with his statements.