That's the question on the minds of Packers fans — again — concerning the playing future of legendary quarterback Brett Favre.
Assuming Favre feels he needs to scratch football's most famous "itch," the Packers are left with several options. None of them are perfect.
Bring back Favre, and let him compete for the starting job with Aaron Rodgers: At first blush, this almost sounds logical. But not knowing who your quarterback is one thing for lousy teams like the Chicago Bears. These Packers, regardless of the quarterback, have lofty aspirations. Anything that will slow this team's progression to the regular-season opener must be avoided.
Just imagine if Rodgers beat out Favre for the starting job. Much has been said about the possibility of Ted Thompson being known forever as the general manager who trades/releases the legendary Favre. How would you like to be Mike McCarthy, known forever as the coach who benched the legend?
Now, imagine being Favre. First, you think the Packers don't want you. Now, they're making you, perhaps the finest quarterback in the history of the universe, beat out some kid to keep your job? Puh-lease.
Percent chance of this happening: 1 percent.
Bring back Favre, and he and Rodgers reprise their roles from the last few years: At first blush, this one almost sounds logical, too. And it might work, if Favre is clicking from Day 1 and the Packers race out of the starting gates demolishing teams like the 1996 club did en route to the Super Bowl. That would give Rodgers' grousing, either in public or to his teammates, little credibility.
But you can't assume the Packers are going to pick up where they left off last season. Not with the schedule being more difficult and Favre being another year older — and without an offseason of preparation.
As would be the case under the previous option, having Favre and Rodgers on the same roster is a recipe for ruining the superb chemistry that has been a hallmark of McCarthy's teams the last two years. For many fans, Favre is a football god. That's not necessarily the case in the locker room, though, where many of his teammates are so much younger and aren't as emotionally linked to Favre. And what message does it send when it's important for the players to attend McCarthy's offseason program, except if you're No. 4?
Then there's the not-so-small matter of Rodgers' contract expiring after the 2009 season. If Favre comes back just for 2008, the Packers will have just the 2009 season to base their decision whether to re-sign Rodgers. And that's assuming Rodgers would even want to come back to Green Bay after all of this. And if Favre gives a two-year commitment, then Rodgers would become the biggest waste of a first-round draft pick in NFL history.
Percent chance of this happening: 4 percent.
Bring back Favre and trade Rodgers: This is plausible for three reasons.
First, while Thompson comes across as someone who doesn't particularly care how popular he is among the fans, he is human. He must know the ridicule — and worse — he'd face if he decides to dump Favre.
Second, while every part of Thompson's building program in Green Bay has had the long-term future in mind, maybe he thinks the 2008 Packers have a better chance to win the Super Bowl with Favre, so he puts his eggs in No. 4's basket.
Third, maybe Thompson has seen enough of Brian Brohm to think the Packers would be in at least as good of hands with Brohm as with Rodgers in 2009 or 2010 and beyond.
Percent chance of this happening: 15 percent.
Trade Favre: Maybe Thompson and McCarthy get together next week and reach the conclusion that winning in 2009, 2010 and beyond is more important than whatever improved odds Favre would give the team in 2008.
Considering that and the possibility of disrupted locker-room harmony with Favre and Rodgers on the roster, the Packers' brain trust decides to explore the trade value of a 38-year-old quarterback with three years and $39 million remaining on his contract.
The guess: not much. Favre almost certainly can sling it with the best of ‘em, but at this late stage in the offseason, how much of a new offense can he feel comfortable running in Week 1? And by the time he gets comfy, will the 2008 season be a lost cause? And, if he gave his new team a two-year commitment, will he still be an elite player by midseason 2009, when he will have turned 40?
Percent chance of this happening: 25 percent.
Release Favre: It won't be pretty, but shortly after 5 p.m., when the lights are turned out at Lambeau Field, a fax will be sent to the media. It will probably be two paragraphs, with the first saying the Packers have released Favre and the second being a quote from Thompson thanking Favre for all he's done for the franchise.
And with those 60 or so words, an era will be over. The sun, however, will rise the next morning.
Percent chance of this happening: 55 percent.
Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at email@example.com