Favre fits in KC

As the chess game begins between the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Brett Favre, it's clear that one way or another the future Hall of Famer will don a different jersey in 2008. I can think of 31 teams that could use Favre. One of them should be the Kansas City Chiefs.

In the spring of 1993 the Chiefs, at the tail end of Carl Peterson's initial five-year plan, found a way to lure quarterback Joe Montana away from San Francisco. After some tense negotiations between Peterson, Montana's agent, and the get-him-at-any-cost former owner of the Arizona Cardinals, Bill Bidwill, the Chiefs and 49ers struck a deal.

Montana had two franchises after his services, and it proved to be just the leverage he needed to force a trade from San Francisco. The deal was also an example of Peterson's negotiating ability, as he convinced Montana that he would not be held hostage with a contract that didn't fit KC's salary cap.

In the end, the 49ers wrangled a first-round draft pick away from the Chiefs and everyone was happy. Kansas City benefited from Montana Magic as he led them to the AFC Championship in his first season. In fact, the team hasn't won a playoff game since Montana wore the red and gold.

Now the Chiefs have an opportunity to land Favre. Déjà vu? Perhaps, but the question now is this:

Will Kansas City abandon their youth movement to grab a player who's capable of delivering a division title, a return to the playoffs, and perhaps more?

Anyone who witnessed Favre's game a year ago at Arrowhead knows he still has a rocket arm. The veteran had the Packers within reach of the Super Bowl last season despite the fact Green Bay's offense wasn't laden with All-Pro talent. They had an average offensive line and a poor running game for much of the season. Fortunately, Favre had a pair of capable wide receivers who could run both crossing patterns and deep routes. The fact that Favre was so successful with those less-than-spectacular elements was enough to convince me that his retirement earlier this offseason might be short-lived.

Right now the Chiefs are a few weeks away from jetting off to River Falls, to begin what I hope is their last training camp in Wisconsin. They are now seven months into their offseason plan of implementing a long-overdue youth movement.

That includes third-year quarterback Brodie Croyle, and both head coach Herm Edwards and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey are firmly entrenched in his camp. For the record, so am I. There is absolutely no doubt that Croyle has the goods to be a solid quarterback in this league.

But the opportunity to work out a trade with the Packers to land Farvre as a teacher and mentor for Croyle might just be worth the loss of a first-day draft pick in 2009. That goes against the current plan in Kansas City, but even a near-40 quarterback like Favre can bring something to the Chiefs.

Packers management isn't all that interested in playing their hand at the moment, but let's be honest - they'll deal Favre as long as he doesn't go to the Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears. It's a good bet all of those teams would give up their top draft pick next season to land Favre.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson isn't an idiot, either. The way he's built his team the last three years, with outstanding draft classes from top to bottom, should indeed be the model for every NFL team to follow.

However, he's in a losing battle on his position with Favre, because the quarterback is the Green Bay Packers. He's as influential and important to the fan base as Vince Lombardi was to the face of the franchise in the 1960s. Right now Favre might be even bigger than Lombardi was.

The Packers are in a no-win situation because Favre's desire to return indicates he either believes he can still play at a Pro Bowl level or he wants to collect the final two years of his mega-contract that will earn him nearly $40 million. Though the Packers could easily absorb the cap hit by keeping him on the active roster, they're still playing with fire.

The team has put their faith in young quarterback Aaron Rodgers. When he throws his first interception this preseason, fans will boo him – wrongly, I might add – and they'll start chanting for their hero, Favre, to replace him. It's totally unfair, but it's as inevitable as gas prices reaching $5.00 per gallon in September.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, really don't need Favre. He'd be a luxury, however, one the team can afford with their plentiful salary cap space. It would also be great PR for a team many believe will finish last in the AFC West this season. The media attention would be 10 times what it was for the Chiefs during the Montana era. That's good for business, especially when you're in the midst of rebuilding a stadium.

If the Chiefs acquired Favre, Croyle would wind up in the same spot Rodgers was in Green Bay over the last couple of seasons. I'm not sure how Croyle would handle having Favre on the team.

Initially, I imagine he'd embrace it, because he's a professional and when you come from a quarterback lineage of Bart Starr, Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler at Alabama, another legend isn't going to faze you.

Would adding Favre stunt Croyle's development? Maybe so. That's the risk the Chiefs have to take if they're willing to enter trade talks with Green Bay.

But realistically, playing for the Chiefs won't likely be Favre's first choice. He wants to play for the Miami Dolphins or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But that might not be his call, and the Packers would be smart to ship him to an AFC team that won't appear on their schedule this year or next.

That leaves a remote chance that the Chiefs could have a serious shot at Favre. If they do make a run at him, it would certainly make for an interesting three weeks in River Falls. Like last year with HBO's Hard Knocks, it would once again put the Chiefs at the forefront of NFL coverage before the season kicks off in New England.

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