Why not go after Brees?

Quarterback, soon to be an unrestricted free agent, has lots to offer Packers

Word has it Brett Favre is retiring. Who told me? Nobody.

He is … sometime.

But for the sake of this column, Favre is retired. With that dilemma settled, the Green Bay Packers face an uncertain future at quarterback, even though 2005 first-round pick Aaron Rodgers is waiting in the wings. However, if the Packers' coaching staff feels Rodgers is not ready to play in 2006, what does Green Bay do?

Remember, coach Mike McCarthy was in San Francisco last year when the 49ers opted to pick Alex Smith instead of Rodgers with the top pick in the draft. This, despite the fact the 49ers likely knew more about Rodgers than Smith, since Rodgers attended nearby California.

It's possible what McCarthy and the 49ers knew about Rodgers they didn't like. If that's the case, and the Packers do want to win next season, there is an option for Green Bay to consider – acquire San Diego quarterback Drew Brees.

Why would McCarthy want to go with Rodgers if his opinion of him is as low as a gopher hole? Yes, Brees is currently nursing a shoulder injury, but he has led the Chargers to 21 regular season wins over the last two seasons. Favre has led Green Bay to 14 wins.

Brees has displayed he is a quality quarterback who can lift a team's play.

The Packers are about $20 million under the salary cap, and Brees apparently will be an unrestricted free agent, as San Diego decided not to label him a transition or franchise player, so why shouldn't the Packers take a look at a player who could solidify the position for the next five to seven years?

I'm not bailing on Rodgers, but if McCarthy wants to start his career with a bang, adding Brees to an offense that needs a lift would be ideal. If Rodgers starts in 2006, the odds of the Packers making the playoffs are about as solid as U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller drinking non-alcoholic beer.

Furthermore, not that GM Ted Thomspon needs to answer to any Packers fan, but adding a name like Brees to replace Favre would draw praise from all Packers fans, some of which have already lost confidence in Thompson despite him being on the job for one year.

And, if Brees comes to Green Bay, it could have a domino effect. Free-agent offensive players see Brees in the Packers' green and gold and it's possible Green Bay becomes more attractive for offensive players to consider. Edgerrin James and Shaun Alexander? No, but there is quality on offense the Packers could add.

OK, now that we've established Brees is coming to Green Bay, what do you offer him?

He's damaged goods right now, although the Packers would have received solid medical information Brees would heal completely. His contract would have to be incentive-laden, but a signing bonus in the $10 million range would likely be necessary.

Also, the Packers would have to promise Brees they would try to assemble a good team right away instead of making this a rebuilding process. This would be key since Miami, which was 9-7 last season, also will be breathing down the neck of Brees, and the Dolphins' near future is more promising than Green Bay's.

After fiddling over contraction negotiations, the Packers have now signed Brees. A press conference is held, he holds up his No. 9 jersey for photos and expectations for 2006 are skyrocketing in a division which has no juggernaut.

The Packers open the season strong, invite Favre to Lambeau Field to retire his No. 4 jersey, and there's one last lovefest for one of the NFL's best quarterbacks of all-time. Favre leaves town, Brees continues to play well and the Packers make the playoffs.

As the playoffs arrive, someone asks, "Who was the Packers' quarterback last season?" After about 20 seconds, someone yells, "That guy who replaced Don Majkowski in 1992. Oh-what's-his-name?"

Acquiring Brees may not be such a bad idea, but realistically it won't happen. The Packers' quarterback for 2006 already is on the roster, and this team seems to be headed in a direction which won't lead it to an above .500 record in 2006.

But adding Brees would be a fun story, just don't expect it.

Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail at dritchay@sbcglobal.net.

Packer Report Top Stories