Aug. 6, 2008: Packers trade Brett Favre to Jets
Editor's note: This story appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Aug. 7, 2008.
Green Bay - All along, the New York Jets were the team most interested in Brett Favre, even amidst reports that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were on the verge of reaching a deal with the Green Bay Packers for the quarterback's services.
Late Wednesday night the Packers and Jets agreed to a trade that would send the quarterback to New York for an undisclosed draft pick. The trade was first reported by FOXSports.com and announced by the Packers about an hour after the story first broke.
An NFL source told the Journal Sentinel the Packers could get a first-round pick from the Jets in the deal, but it was unclear what would have to occur for that to happen.
NFL Network reported that Favre would have to play 80% of the Jets' snaps this season and make it to the Super Bowl for the Packers to get a first-round pick. The pick starts out as a fourth-rounder, but jumps up to a third if Favre plays 50% of the Jets' snaps. It becomes a second if he plays 70% of the snaps and the Jets qualify for the playoffs.
In confirming the trade, the Packers released a joint statement from general manager Ted Thompson and president Mark Murphy:
"Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished on the field and for the impact he made in the state. It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible.
"We respect Brett's decision that he could no longer remain here as a Packer. But there were certain things we were not willing to do because they were not in the best interest of the team. We were not going to release him nor trade him to a team within the division. When Brett ultimately decided that he still wanted to play football, but not in Green Bay, we told him that we would work to find the best solution for all parties involved. We wish Brett and his family well.
"We appreciate the tremendous passion shown by our fans. We, like them, always will see Brett Favre as a Green Bay Packer and our respect for him never will change. Moving forward, we are dedicated to delivering a successful 2008 season for all Packers fans."
The Jets released this statement:
"I am looking forward to seeing Brett Favre in a New York Jets uniform," said Chairman/CEO Woody Johnson. "He represents a significant addition to this franchise, and reflects our commitment to putting the best possible product on the field. Mike Tannenbaum and his football administration staff did a great job of navigating this complex process. I am excited about welcoming Brett, Deanna and their family to the Jets organization."
The Packers were engaged in talks with both Tampa Bay and New York all through the day, but their attention was mostly on the Jets, who long ago showed a strong interest in acquiring Favre. The Jets' offer was stronger than Tampa Bay's and it was a matter of Favre agreeing to join the team.
The trade comes a little more than 24 hours after Favre and coach Mike McCarthy met for two hours at Lambeau Field to see if there was any chance they could salvage their relationship. However, McCarthy felt Favre was too upset with the Packers over the events of the past several months and could not move on and be a productive member of the team.
Soon after that, Thompson led a four-man contingent that went over to Favre's Green Bay home and talked to Favre and his wife, Deanna, to urge them to consider accepting a trade to the Jets or the Buccaneers. Favre doesn't have a no-trade clause, but he did have the ability to retire again if he wasn't happy with the deal the Packers made.
According to FOXSports.com, Favre spoke with Jets coach Eric Mangini and other team officials on Tuesday night to discuss the possibility of joining the team. Until then, Favre had refused to talk to anyone from the Jets, frustrating the team and causing them to become lukewarm on making a trade, a source close to the negotiations said.
When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reinstated Favre on Monday, the Jets saw Favre was serious about playing again. And when it became clear to Favre on Tuesday that he would not be able to get over his bad blood with the Packers and rejoin them, he agreed to consider a trade to another team.
The Buccaneers and the Jets were the only two teams who sought permission from the Packers to speak to Favre. The Packers had contact with every team in the league to see if there was interest in Favre, but only drew feelers from those two.
When it became apparent Favre was not going to be able to patch things up with the Packers, McCarthy tried to sell Favre on playing for the Jets, a team whose coach he wasn't that familiar with, a source close to the Packers said. Favre indicated to McCarthy that he thought the Jets had more talent than the Buccaneers and started to consider them.
On Sept. 2, the Jets are moving their operation from Hempstead on Long Island to Florham Park, N.J., which is about 30 miles west of Manhattan. The Jets sold Favre on the fact that the new location is in the suburbs and features some rural areas where he can fish and hunt.
The 38-year-old Favre is joining a team where he is older than Mangini (37), offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer (34) and quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll (33). He also will be going to the AFC East where he will compete against MVP winner Tom Brady of the New England Patriots twice a year.
The Jets do not play the Packers this season.
Getting the deal done quickly was important for Favre because he wanted to get into training camp and start practicing right away in order to learn his new team's system. The Jets are scheduled to play the Cleveland Browns tonight in Cleveland, so it's likely Favre won't report to the team until at least Friday.
The Jets are only $6.5 million under the salary cap, so they're going to have to restructure Favre's $12 million base salary so that it fits into their cap. The Jets are expected to cut quarterback Chad Pennington to clear up room for Favre.
The Jets assume all three years of the deal at $12 million in 2008, $13 million in '09 and $14 million in '10.
It's almost assured that the Packers included a clause in the trade that would force the Jets to give up several very high draft picks if they try to trade Favre to another team.