I’ve said all along that I thought Brett Favre would end up back starting for the Packers this year…but now I’ve had to change my mind. The bribe story did it. If you didn’t hear, Packers president Mark Murphy, who met with Favre and his agent Bus Cook yesterday in Mississippi, reportedly offered Brett $20 million over 10 years to simply stay retired. This clinches it – the Packers don’t want him back. They’re sick of the drama the same way the Red Sox are sick of the Manny drama.
Of course Favre didn’t accept the stay-gone money…he wants to play. And Roger Goodell has made it clear that he wants Favre to play. And Favre has made it fairly clear that he would prefer not to play for Tampa Bay or the New York Jets, the only two teams seriously mentioned in trade rumors. So what now? Many have suggested the Pack should simply trade Favre to either the Bucs or Jets and if Brett doesn’t want to report to either of those teams, so be it. Only problem – though this might satisfy the Packers’ desire to be rid of Favre, it would not necessarily satisfy the league’s desire to have Favre playing.
And what of the league’s position on Favre? It perplexes me a bit that Goodell would be so personally interested in having Favre play. Yes, I know Favre is good for ratings and all that, but I thought the NFL was this colossus that didn’t depend on individual stars. Does anyone think the league would suddenly go down the tubes if Favre didn’t play? Or even suffer a significant decline in TV ratings and revenue? Favre is often criticized for thinking he’s bigger than the game…but when the commissioner acts like the NFL needs Favre this badly, it only validates Favre’s arrogance.
The upshot is that the league wants Favre on the field in ’08, but the Packers are only willing to go so far in accommodating them. The line they supposedly won’t cross is trading him to a division rival. Unfortunately, Favre seems to have his heart set on playing for the Vikings, a team that’s perceived as being a quarterback away from Super Bowl contention. So, what if the Packers finally have no choice? What if all these converging forces create a perfect storm of pressure they can’t withstand? According to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story, the Packers have considered this situation…and would, if they were absolutely out of alternatives, resort to making a deal with either the Vikings or Bears. Which would almost certainly mean Brett Favre in purple, in exchange for a fairly decent draft pick.
So now we have the new odds-board:
- Favre returns to the Packers as starter: 1%
- Favre returns to the Packers as back-up until a trade can be swung: 20%
- Favre goes back to Mississippi with his tail between his legs: 1%
- Favre is traded to the Vikings: 15%
- Favre is traded to the Bears: 5%
- Favre is traded to some other team and either does or doesn’t report: 30%
- Favre is cut: 10%
- Anything else including Favre becoming Pope: 18%