FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer reported late Wednesday night that the Packers had traded Favre to the Jets. The Packers, in an e-mail sent at 11:25 p.m., confirmed the news.
NFL Network reported today that Favre would have to play 80 percent of the Jets' snaps this season and make it to the Super Bowl for the Packers to get a first-round pick in the deal. The pick starts out as a fourth-rounder, but jumps up to a third if Favre plays 50 percent of the Jets' snaps. It becomes a second if he plays 70 percent of the snaps and the Jets qualify for the playoffs.
"Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished on the field and for the impact he made in the state," general manager Ted Thompson and team President and CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible."
While the Packers could trade Favre wherever they pleased, Favre essentially has veto power because he could elect to re-retire. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Favre has signed off on the deal.
Neither the Packers nor Jets disclosed the compensation. According to NFL Network, the Packers received a fourth-round pick. If Favre plays in 50 percent of the snaps, it becomes a third-rounder. If he plays 70 percent of the snaps and the Jets make the playoffs, it becomes a second-rounder. And if he plays 80 percent of the snaps and the Jets reach the Super Bowl, the Packers would receive a first-rounder.
According to Glazer, Jets coach Eric Mangini and others in the organization talked to Favre for the first time on Tuesday night in hopes of persuading Favre — who played 16 seasons in small-town Green Bay — to come to the Big Apple.
While the Giants have won three Super Bowls, Favre — a no-doubt-about-it Hall of Famer who owns every major career passing record in NFL history — gives New York its greatest quarterbacking presence since Joe Namath led the Jets to victory in Super Bowl III.
"I am looking forward to seeing Brett Favre in a New York Jets uniform," Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson said in a statement. "He represents a significant addition to this franchise, and reflects our commitment to putting the best possible product on the field. I am excited about welcoming Brett, Deanna and their family to the Jets organization."
Favre is coming off one of his finest seasons as a pro. He finished second in balloting for NFL MVP last season after throwing for 4,155 yards, 28 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and career-high 66.5 percent accuracy.
Favre, who turns 39 on Oct. 10, retired on March 6, meaning the trade was completed exactly five months later.
Time was of the essence for Favre. The Jets begin their preseason tonight and open the regular season in 32 days.
"It's in everyone's best interest to do it quicker than later," Favre said in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Wednesday upon returning from Green Bay. "I won't say we're running out of time, but I need to get into a camp somewhere."
The Jets were the Packers' desired location for Favre all along, since it gets Favre out of the NFC. The other suitor was Tampa Bay, which hosts Green Bay in Week 4 and could contend with Green Bay for either a playoff spot or square off in the postseason
Green Bay reportedly had asked the Bucs for a third-round pick and a veteran quarterback — likely Brian Griese but perhaps Chris Simms.
The trade ends a stunning five-month period in which Favre — who returned to the Packers after a 12-loss, 29-interception debacle in 2005 and a teary-eyed season finale in 2006 — retired after enjoying a career revival. The Packers went 13-3 in the regular season and advanced to the NFC championship game, and with a young supporting cast returning intact, they would have entered this season as one of four or five favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Just three weeks after retiring, though, Favre flirted with coming back to the Packers. In an account Favre disputes but several NFL sources say is true, Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy were prepared to fly to Mississippi to iron out the details, only for Favre to reconfirm his retirement.
Perhaps that was the final straw for McCarthy and Thompson. Perhaps it was the realization Favre's cold-weather foibles would stand in the Packers' path to the Super Bowl. Perhaps it was something else. Whatever the reason, the Packers moved full speed ahead into life without Favre.
The Packers selected two quarterbacks in April's draft, including Brian Brohm in the second round. While the rumbling of a comeback continued in Mississippi, McCarthy — as he said Tuesday — never believed Favre would come out of retirement.
On July 4, in the text message heard ‘round the world, Favre told Thompson he wanted to talk. In a July 8 conference call, Favre said he was recharged and ready to play football, but Thompson and McCarthy said the team had moved forward.
By this point, the Favre-Packers divorce had the unstoppable momentum of an avalanche. There was a three-part interview with Fox News' Greta VanSusteren, along with nonstop rumors, tampering charges, a 10-year, $25 million personal-services contract that could be construed as a bribe to keep Favre retired and the specter of Favre showing up at training camp to create a circus that would make P.T. Barnum blush.
Favre indeed showed up in Green Bay on Sunday. He met with McCarthy on Monday night, with McCarthy even willing to open the quarterback competition. Instead, both sides agreed it was best to part ways.
That parting took place on Wednesday night.
"We respect Brett's decision that he could no longer remain here as a Packer," Thompson and Murphy said in the statement. "But there were certain things we were not willing to do because they were not in the best interest of the team. We were not going to release him nor trade him to a team within the division. When Brett ultimately decided that he still wanted to play football, but not in Green Bay, we told him that we would work to find the best solution for all parties involved. We wish Brett and his family well."
To fit Favre's $12 million salary under the salary cap, the Jets likely will have to cut loose Chad Pennington. Pennington, who turned 32 in June, could give the Packers a veteran backup behind first-year starter Aaron Rodgers should Green Bay decide Brohm is not up to the task as a rookie.
Pennington boasts a career completion percentage of 65.6, including 68.8 last season. He threw 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season, giving him 82 TDs and 55 INTs for his career.
Favre is under contract through 2010. His salary is $13 million in 2009 and $14 million in 2010.
Favre has started a league-record 253 consecutive games. In that span, the Jets have started 15 quarterbacks.
Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org