Standoff in Green Bay: Eventually hell will break loose for Favre, Pack
SUMRALL, Miss. -- Nicest house and property I've ever seen in my years covering the NFL, I thought as I drove from the Favre place early Sunday morning. Good thing Favre loves it so much, because I bet he's going to be spending a lot of time there in the next month or so.
What we have here is a good old-fashioned standoff, one that two or three days away from Packer training camp is not going to fix. All that Brett Favre staying away until Wednesday (that's the day I expect him to walk back into the mayhem up north) is doing is delaying the inevitable. Because when Packer GM Ted Thompson urged Favre to stay home for the first couple of days of Packer camp to let him continue to work on a solution to the problem, what he meant was: Please stay away so we can have a couple of days of normalcy before all hell breaks loose. And we all know that hell is coming.
This morning, I want to run down what I think I know, not what I think I think. I listen to what's being said and read what's being written right now, and none of us in the media really, truly knows where Favre is going to end up. I've heard the question 30 times if I've heard it once in the last month, and I always say some derivative of "I don't know, but it's not going to be pretty.''
But here are the Ten Things I Think I Know about the fate of Favre:
1. I think I know Thompson is not going to release Favre. If he did, my best guess is Favre would sign with the Minnesota Vikings, and for the next two years (one at least, but probably two) he would do everything in his power to beat the Packers 49-0 in the four games they played. You think Thompson is unpopular in Green Bay now? Wait to see how hated a man he'll be if he gives Favre the freedom he wants.
2. I think I know Favre is not going to stop demanding his release, at least not now. Thompson asked Favre for a list of teams he'd accept a trade to on Saturday -- for at least the second time -- and Favre would not give him one. That's because the minute Favre gives Thompson a list, the Packers will get a deal done with one of the teams on the list. Which brings us to one of the myths I keep hearing repeated.
3. I think I know Thompson is not asking for a first-round pick in trade for Favre unless he has one of the best years of his life, and unless his new team advances far into the playoffs. I don't know the particulars of the likely conditional trade and I'm not sure Thompson knows exactly what he'd accept, because he hasn't gone far down the road with any team he's discussed Favre with. But I do know the deal would be structured like a guaranteed fourth-round pick that could rise to a three or a two or a one (unlikely) depending on Favre's performance ... or maybe a guaranteed three that could rise to a two or one. Most likely, if Favre stays healthy, the team acquiring him would likely have to surrender a third- or second-round pick to get him.
4. I think I know the biggest myth out there is Thompson is driving such a hard bargain because he hopes no team will trade for Favre, and that Favre would slink back to Mississippi and stay retired. Maybe that was the case a month ago, but it isn't now. Thompson knows Favre is going to continue to push to play. And even though I think Thompson would like to have Favre in reserve in case Aaron Rodgers gets hurt -- imagine what Monday-morning-quarterbacking (hey, King, stop stealing your own line!) would ensue if Thompson traded Favre and Rodgers went down for the year the next day with a torn hammy -- I think he believes it'd be better to just let him go somewhere else now.
5. I think I know the league will not find Minnesota guilty of tampering with Favre. Until visiting Favre here Saturday, I'd thought for sure the Vikes would get docked a fifth- or sixth-rounder in next year's draft because Darrell Bevell and Brad Childress had engaged in phone conversations at a sensitive time of Favre coming back to football while he still was under contract with the Packers. But now I'm convinced the league will do nothing.
Favre often talks with and text-messages Childress, who he got to know when the coach was the Wisconsin offensive coordinator, sitting in on Packer offensive meetings in the mid-nineties. Favre told the league that. And he told them he didn't stop being good friends with Bevell after being coached by him from 2003 to '05 just because Bevell left for the rival Vikings. Favre talks with Andy Reid. He talks with Mike Holmgren. For all I know, he's talked to both of them while this whole affair has been going on.
As he told me Saturday, the Vikings did nothing and said nothing to entice him into coming to play in Minnesota. I believe Roger Goodell, officiating this scrum, will look at the evidence and say to himself: There is no evidence that the Vikings plotted anything with Favre, and the worst thing I could do right now is throw a match into the middle of these fireworks. I'm doing nothing.