The timing is a little strange in my opinion and it leaves several questions up in the air. First we should examine the reasons that the Giants decided to cut Burress instead of waiting to see how the legal process might resolve itself.
There is only one set of circumstances under which the Giants would have taken Burress back:
- The legal case against Burress was settled with incidental or no jail time, mostly probation
- Burress showed a willingness to blend back into the team and participate in off season work outs
- Burress promised that he had turned the page on his rebellious team behavior and agreed to abide by all team rules of Colonel Coughlin's regime
- NFL suspension was to be moderate, allowing Burress to miss only a small portion of the 2009 season.
- It was apparent from the delay in the March 31 court date and its postponement to June 15 that the court case is unlikely to be resolved quickly, thereby preventing Burress from participating in workouts with the team. Furthermore, the reason that the case was not resolved is that the Manhattan DA is not willing to make a deal that does not have some significant jail time in it - at least 6 months to 1 year. This knocks out the first two conditions above. Burress will likely get a fair amount of jail time and even if his lawyer is successful at limiting it, resolution will not be swift. The wheels of justice grind very slowly... throw a penalty flag against the DA for delay of game.
- As far as Burress turning the page on his rebellious behavior, getting in line and being more compliant with team rules, it is apparent from his conduct that not only is he not becoming more conciliatory, rather he is becoming more intransigent and difficult. Specifically, Burress is contesting the fines that the Giants levied against him and filed a grievance with the league to try and recover the withheld bonus payment. It is certainly a reasonable action for Burress to take - he has a right to protect his compensation. But apparently, the Giants were trying to negotiate a settlement with him on some of these matters and Burress was completely inflexible, refusing to budge and showing great anger at the organization for attempting to do this. Furthermore, the email that his agent, Rosenhaus sent around to all the NFL teams informing them that Burress could be available in a trade, while not illegal, certainly left a strong message to the team that Burress himself was not interested in staying with the team.
- Finally, the Giants may have had a little birdie from the league whisper in their ear that the NFL suspension would not be slight and would be as long as the jail sentence, which means that Burress would probably not be available for the entire 2009 season.
If the Giants are reading the tea leaves correctly on this matter, they probably did the right thing by cutting him. The only question I have is: why do it now? Why not wait until these matters actually resolved so they could deal with facts on the table instead of assumptions. If they are not resolved by the time training camp comes around, the Giants could cut him then, but what is the advantage of taking this action now? While the Giants ownership and management want to win, they also want to win with some class and dignity. Imagine the circus that would revolve around the team if Burress were to show up at mini camp in June with this still unresolved. It probably wouldn't have been much better if they cut him right before that mini camp, because that's all people would be talking about... and I'm not talking about the press and the media, I'm talking about the players and the coaches. Giants probably wanted to resolve this now and get the hoopla and craziness out of the way, so the team could concentrate on the off-season conditioning program, on their needs for the draft and on preparing for the season.