"My guess is that he's going to come back," Murphy said in Milwaukee. "The team has gotten better around him and is in a position to really do great things next year."
While most fans feel Favre's return is inevitable — why would he retire now, with the team so close to the Super Bowl? — Murphy, who played eight seasons with the Washington Redskins, says Favre's lengthy and annual internal debate is understandable.
"When we watch the games on Sunday, you see the joy and how much fun he has with the game and obviously he's still playing at a high level," said Murphy, who replaced the retired Bob Harlan on Jan. 28. "What you don't see is all the work that he has to do all through the offseason. The training and the grind of it."
Murphy said he thinks Favre will announce his intentions soon, "probably this week some time. Before the end of the month."
"I think he still enjoys it, particularly the games, and he has a passion for it, but it's not as easy of a decision as some people might think," Murphy said.
The lure of a third trip to the Super Bowl, however, has to be appealing, Murphy said.
"If Brett Favre comes back, as I said before, I do think it gives us our best chance to win a Super Bowl next year, just with his experience, his knowledge of the game and his leadership ability," Murphy said. "Nothing that a defense does to him fazes him or surprises him. He really can take advantage of defenses when they leave themselves vulnerable."
Collective bargaining agreement
The NFL's collective bargaining agreement was a focus of Murphy's talk in front of local business leaders at St. Norbert, which is the Packers' training camp base.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said owners are likely to opt out of the CBA in the fall because the current deal, which included a sizable increase in the salary cap last offseason, is costing owners too much money. That's a premise Murphy agreed with.
If the owners opt out of the CBA, NFL Players Association chief Gene Upshaw has said the salary cap would disappear forever. That would imperil small-market teams like the Packers, who lack a deep-pockets owner like the Cowboys' Jones.
If the owners fail to extend the CBA in November — three-quarters of the 32 owners, or 24, have to agree — 2010 becomes an uncapped season. If the owners opt out, the current structure would remain in place through 2010, and 2011 would be an uncapped year.
"I don't think any team in the league wants to lose the salary cap," Murphy said.
— Murphy said he didn't anticipate Packers general manager Ted Thompson would depart from his norm and spend a lot in free agency, which starts at 11 p.m. Thursday (Central time). "I don't think we're planning on any huge splashes. If there is some area we can help ourselves, we will take a look at it."
— The Packers might add luxury suites, or a combination of suites and general seating, to the south end of Lambeau Field. "That's something that we'll look at. … (But) you have to careful about getting too big and hurting your sales overall."
— Many former players, who played too long ago to benefit from the explosion in salaries, have complained the league and the union have failed to do enough to help them. "I think the league needs to do more. It's not good for the game," said Murphy, a former union representative and, after his retirement, NFLPA assistant executive director. "The bureaucracy and delays in the system need to be worked out."
— Murphy supported Harlan's decision to give new five-year contracts to Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy. "Bob was really smart, and I supported it, locking both of them up with long-term contracts right as we made the transition. I really feel good about the future of the Packers. I think that has really given me the luxury of time. I don't feel the organization is broken in any way."
Steve Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org