Over the past month, Brett Favre has revealed himself as a prima donna, a whiner and a liar. He has trashed Ted Thompson, mocked Mike McCarthy and insulted his fans. Now the Packers are attempting to accommodate his current wish to return to the NFL by trading him to a playoff team, as Favre has demanded, and one in the Packers own conference. Favre now says that’s not good enough.
In an interview with ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Favre says Ted Thompson sounded “shattered” and begged him not to report to camp saying doing so could mean Thompson would be “fired.” This sounds like bullshit but let’s assume, contrary to his recent history, that Favre is telling the truth. That might be worse. Even if the Packers and Ted Thompson have mishandled this entire episode, and we’ve been consistent in saying that they have, what kind of man would reveal publicly those obviously personal comments? Only an asshole.
Which is why the inescapable conclusion is that Favre must go. The bad blood between Favre and the organization would lead to a season-long soap opera if he were to somehow remain with the Packers. What if the Packers lost four of their first eight games with Favre as their starter? How long until Favre started criticizing Ted Thompson for his refusal to sign Randy Moss — something Favre has already spoken about publicly? Not long.
The Packers don’t have many options. They can let Favre sit on the bench for $12 million and look over Aaron Rodgers’ shoulder for the entire season. They can cut him. Or they can trade him.
The first two are not serious options and Favre is doing everything he can to be a pain in the ass on the third. So here is the solution: Give him what he wants. Trade him to the Vikings. Yes, it would be a big gamble, but there are several reasons to take the risk.
One, the Packers could use some good PR. They would be criticized by football commentators for trading Favre within the division, but they have an obvious defense: Favre made us do it. Favre has now come out and suggested he does not want to go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s limiting the Packers’ options and he’s doing it to suit up for the team he maneuvered to play for all along. The inescapable conclusion — given the off-season phone calls and text messages between Favre and Vikings, the conversations between the Vikings and Favre’s agent before Favre declared he was returning — will be that Favre forced his way to the Vikings. And he will look like the prima donna that he is.
Two, it seems clear the Vikings are the team willing to give up the most for Favre. They believe that they are a quarterback away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They may be correct, which is why they are most likely to give up real value — maybe a first-rounder and a middle-rounder — for Favre.
UPDATE: Two things from Peter King’s column this morning provide even more reason Favre must go. One, Favre has refused a request from the Packers to provide a list of teams to which he would accept a trade. Two, he apparently told King he is lukewarm about a trade to the Bucs and King recommends — almost certainly giving voice to a Favre suggestion — that a GM or owner of the Jets or Bucs fly down to Mississippi to show Favre some love. That is pathetic. Would Favre require the same thing of Zygi Wilf?
I think I know the Jets are fact-finding about Favre, as are the Bucs. But Favre is lukewarm, at best, about playing in either spot. The best thing either team could do is send a GM or owner, or both, to Mississippi today or tomorrow to fact-find with Favre. He doesn’t know either team well. I know the teams don’t want to be seen as groveling around Favre and begging him to come because of the impression it would leave about their incumbent quarterbacks, but Favre’s in a sensitive spot right now. He’s human. He’d like to be loved a little bit right now, or at least gather some information so if he had to make a decision about whether to accept a trade he’d know more than he knows now.