Lombardi: What to do with Favre

As the NFL trade deadline nears, PackerReport.com's John Lombardi explains why it makes sense for the Green Bay Packers to deal Brett Favre to another team.

The trade deadline is fast approaching, so let me be the first one to utter those blasphemous words:

The Packers should trade Brett Favre to a contender.

In my business we talk about the Win – Win – Win. We try and structure every deal we make to insure that all parties involved win.

The customer gets a quality product at a fair price.

The employees have a meaningful job they enjoy that provides them with the wherewithal to live the life the want to live.

The company collects the revenue to continue operating and return to the stakeholders a decent return on their investment.

Everybody wins in the end. Trading Brett Favre is a Win-Win-Win.

Favre gets to go to a contending team and finish his career chasing a playoff spot.

The Packers get something in return for him that can help their rebuilding process.

Aaron Rodgers gets a chance to show what he can do.

The only folks who sort of come out on the short end are the fans who enjoy watching him play. But when have the Packers ever done anything to appease the fans?

I doubt that it will happen. I do not think that the brain trust over at 1265 Lombardi Avenue has the courage to do it. Favre has said publicly that he does not want to start over. Behind closed doors, he may have made it clear that he does not want to be traded. These are things you and I are not privy to. But assuming he would entertain the idea, the Pack should do it. And even if he is not keen on the idea, they should be shopping him.

Making a trade is the smart move. Favre can still play and he is still the Packers' best chance of winning this year. The Packers are getting better and will win some games this year, but they are a long way away from challenging for a playoff spot on paper.

I am not sure there are any teams that feel that Favre could get them over the hump right now. Baltimore - maybe if Steve McNair's injury is worse than advertised. The Redskins could use a QB as could the Chiefs and Bucs, although those last three are not contenders at this moment. Had Green Bay acted a week or two ago, they could possibly have had more suitors.

I have this fear that the Packers will head into December with, at best, a 3-9 record. The pressure to bench Brett and play Rodgers will be enormous. Seeing Brett Favre holding a clipboard would be embarrassing. Forget about him coming back for another year if that happens.

If the powers that be have any temptation to bench Favre at any time in the future, then they should do him the favor and trade him while they can still get something for him. They should look deep inside themselves and envision the scenario where Favre takes a seat on the bench. If that scenario is remotely likely, they should make the trade.

This franchise ran off Curly Lambeau. Jim Ringo was traded. Vince Lombardi scampered off to an ownership share with the Redskins. Paul Hornung was exposed in the expansion draft. Jim Taylor went to New Orleans. Dave Robinson was traded. Bart Starr was fired and was forced to fire his best friend Zeke Bratkowski first. Forrest Gregg left before they got to him. Mike Holmgren left for more power in Seattle. Reggie White retired and then came back with Carolina. Dorsey Levens, Antonio Freeman, who else? Most of the big names ended it somewhere else, why should Brett be any different?

Football pretends to be a character builder. It is supposed to instill qualities in those that play it like discipline, perseverance and loyalty. It is capable of doing all of those things, but to say there is loyalty in the NFL is Pollyanna. It is a business pure and simple and even though I would like to see Favre retire in all his glory as a Packer, it does not make NFL sense. The only reason Favre should stay a Packer is that there is no team willing to trade for him, they are offering a ridiculous deal, or the salary issues cannot be worked out. There is one other reason he may not be traded: The Packers are afraid of the negative reaction among fans. The first two are legitimate, the last one is not.

I know it may seem sacrilegious to consider trading Favre. He has done so much for this town and team, but short of some miracle, he will more than likely end his career on the bench in Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears. The game owes him a chance to go out a winner.

John Lombardi

Editor's note: John Lombardi is the grandson of legendary coach Vince Lombardi. His football experience includes stints with two teams in the World League (now NFL Europe); in the scouting departments of the Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans; and graduate assistant coach and director of football operations at Vanderbilt. E-mail him at johnlombardi22@yahoo.com.

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