So why stop at Favre? Sure he is the Green Bay Packers. He's a living legend. He led the Packers to a Super Bowl victory. But in a what-have-you-done-for-me lately league, Favre sticks out like a senior citizen at a frat party on Green Bay's roster. Favre, 36, wants to play some more football and the Packers are saying that they want him back with the Packers. But do they really want him back? Or is this nothing more than lip service for the future Hall of Famer?
The Packers have come upon a situation similar to the one that San Francisco encountered with Joe Montana in the early 1990s. Steve Young eventually replaced Montana, who missed the entire 1991 season with an injury to his throwing arm. Montana, who was with the 49ers from 1979-92, moved on to play with the Chiefs when the 49ers were set on sticking with Young. Montana eventually retired after two seasons with the Chiefs when many felt his career would end only in San Francisco. But the 49ers eventually turned the page with Montana and now might be the best time for the Packers to do the same with Favre.
The Packers have Aaron Rodgers waiting in the wings. Green Bay's No. 1 draft pick last year is their quarterback of the future. Favre likely could play one to three more seasons, if he wants to, but it would be better for all involved in Green Bay if it is with another team. That's hard to imagine, even difficult to write. However, looking at it from a business standpoint, it makes sense. Here's why:
Thompson has stuffed the Packers roster with younger players, an obvious sign that the Packers planning to make a playoff run within a couple of seasons, but not next season. At season's end, the roster averaged 26.04 years of age, which makes Green Bay one of the league's youngest teams. Thompson then went out and hired 42-year-old Mike McCarthy to take over as head coach. McCarthy is one of the league's youngest head coaches next to the New York Jets' Eric Mangini, who turns 35 on Jan. 19, and the New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton, 42.
Now put yourself in Favre's cleats, and let's assume that he wants to continue his career. Do you want to play for a young team that is two or three years away from making the playoffs, or hook on with a more established team that needs a veteran leader at quarterback in order to make a strong push for the Super Bowl ASAP?
Face it, the Packers will not qualify for the NFL playoffs in 2006. The odds are long. Since 1978, only 11 rookie head coaches took their new team to the playoffs. Atlanta's Jim Mora, Jr. was the last to do so in 2004. The Falcons, of course, had Michael Vick leading the way, and Packers' scapegoat defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.
Favre wants to play some more football. His agent, James "Bus" Cook said as much in a Milwaukee radio interview recently. Though this seems difficult to envision for Packers fans, the Packers could improve their chances of returning the playoffs within two years by trading Favre this off-season. Favre still has plenty of value. A trade would clear up a ton of salary cap space for Green Bay and possibly give Thompson a few more draft picks this off-season. The Packers also might get an up-and-coming player from another team to fill one of their many needs.
Favre playing for another team? Life will have to go on eventually for the Packers without him. The Packers might as well begin in 2006, because it's just as difficult to imagine the quarterback playing in Green Bay next season under the circumstances.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at email@example.com.