Packers trade Favre to Jets
by Jay Glazer
Jay Glazer is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com on MSN and also appears every week on FOX NFL Sunday as the network's NFL Insider.
Updated: August 6, 2008, 10:59 PM EST
The Brett Favre era in Green Bay is now officially over. But Favre's legendary career is not.
The month-long saga has finally come to an end, with the Packers agreeing to trade their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback to the New York Jets, FOXSports.com has learned.
The exact compensation was not immediately known, but it is believed to be a single draft pick that increases in value depending upon how the Jets perform during the 2008 season.
As a result of this, the Jets will likely release a quarterback. Signs have been pointing to Chad Pennington as the likely culprit because the team will need to free up cap room to fit Favre's contract under the salary cap.
The Jets were much more aggressive than the Bucs in their pursuit of Favre all along. The bigger issue was getting Favre on the same page as the Packers front office as far as the Jets were concerned.
Finally, late Tuesday, Favre talked to Jets head coach Eric Mangini and others in the organization for the first time as they tried to convince Favre he would be a good fit in New York.
The Packers had been hopeful of getting a deal done with the Jets for two reasons. One, it was the better offer on the table as far as the quality of the compensation. Two, it sends Favre out of the conference, meaning a meeting in the playoffs is an extreme longshot.
This trade caps a roller-coaster offseason ride for Favre — the 38-year-old owner of nearly every meaningful passing record in NFL history — and the franchise that became synonymous with his legendary No. 4 jersey. Favre's on-again, off-again retirement has monopolized headlines for the past two months as news began trickling to the media that the legendary passer was second-guessing both his retirement decision and his status in Green Bay.
The sports world first bid farewell to Favre in a nationally-televised press conference on March 6. At the time, the decision to retire seemed somewhat of a surprise considering the resounding success of Favre's 2007 campaign — 4,155 passing yards, 28 touchdown passes, plus career-highs in both completion percentage (66.5 percent) and yards per attempt (7.
. In other words, one of pro football's best quarterbacks ever to play was his most accurate while throwing more deep balls than ever before ... in his 17th NFL season.
Most importantly, the Packers were coming off a revival of a season in which they went 13-3 record en route to winning the NFC North division title. Better yet, after the New York Giants shocked the NFC's No. 1 seeded Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs to give the Packers home-field advantage in the NFC Championship, the stars seemed to be aligning toward a perfect Hollywood storyline — the legend going to the Super Bowl in his final year. It was going to be perfect — after two straight years of subpar results and retirement waffling by No. 4, Favre was poised to have the chance to leave football on top like John Elway once did with Denver.
But Favre's fairy tale became a nightmare on a cold Sunday night in January as the Giants upset the Packers, leaving the veteran passer looking weathered and worn after another grueling season. Ironically it was Favre's longtime friendly rival, Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who lived the fairy tale, won the Super Bowl and retired with a championship ring before being hired as an analyst on Fox NFL Sunday.
Still, last season was such a success that most fans and media expected Favre to return for at least one more season, if not more. And even Favre admitted at his own retirement press conference that he still knew he could play — and that he would want to play again at some point before training camp began. Unbeknownst to the public at the time, Favre even flirted with a return shortly before April's NFL Draft — a return which Green Bay says it was fully prepared to embrace until Favre flip-flopped yet again on March 29. As Packers head coach Mike McCarthy tells it, "we had reached a point of closure ... Those were his words. And he was going to stick with his initial decision."
It was after that fateful episode that the Packers finally moved on with Life Without Favre, completely handing the keys to the offense to Aaron Rodgers, the first full-time starting QB other than Favre since George Bush Sr. was Commander in Chief in 1992. Green Bay even selected not one, but two quarterbacks in the seven-round draft to fill the sizable void left by Favre.
It was around this time that word began leaking to the public that Green Bay might have a serious QB controversy on its hands. But while many could have predicted Favre's "itch" to return this summer, few were aware of the angst he felt towards the organization, an angst that contributed to his desire to play elsewhere.
On July 4, Favre text-messaged Thompson, who asked the quarterback to discuss the matter the following Monday upon return from vacation. A July 8 conference call was scheduled, during which for the first time throughout this up-and-down process Favre emphatically declared that he was once again 100 percent committed to football.
After the Favre camp mailed a letter to the Packers asking for his release, the dominoes continued to fall — with other teams rumored as possible trade partners, tampering charges filed by the Packers against the rival Minnesota Vikings and around-the-clock media scrutiny surrounding both Favre and his now-former team. Both parties tried to stay tight-lipped publicly, but then there was the three-part Fox News interview and the infamous Boys and Girls Club grilling McCarthy about Green Bay's beloved No. 4.
As July 27 — the date marking the start of Packers training camp — creeped closer, the stalemate continued ... and it became clear that neither the Packers nor Favre wanted him in Green Bay amid the expected media circus that only P.T. Barnum could never comprehend. With new media gossip leaking daily, at first it seemed the Packers were getting desperate — with reports that they might trade Favre within the NFC North. Packers President Mark Murphy even flew to Brett Favre, Mississippi (actually Hattiesburg) to offer the best quarterback in franchise history $20 million over 10 years NOT to come back to Green Bay.
Then reports surfaced that, after everything, Favre himself was considering budging from his position to accept the Packers' "marketing" offer. But he finally arrived in Packer-land intent on reporting for what McCarthy suddenly termed "an open competition."
But now ... finally ... we all know the answer to the question — the quarterback with more touchdown passes, passing yards, completions and wins in league history — has left the building in Green Bay, for good.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.