Playing Devil’s Advocate: Did the Packers sell Brett Favre for too little?
Ah the Raiders, no one can blame them for not being true to themselves; recently the Raiders just pulled off perhaps one of the most Raider-esqe moves of all time by giving up a 2012 1st round draft pick plus a conditional 2nd round pick in 2013 (which can become a 1st round pick should the Raiders win a playoff game this year) for disgruntled Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer.
Personally, I can’t imagine how this works out in the favor for the Raiders. As a point of comparison the Denver Broncos received two first round picks from the Chicago Bears for quarterback Jay Cutler; the only difference was that Cutler was entering the prime of his career, didn’t have a significant injury history and was playing pretty effectively.
Anyways, apparently the going rate for a franchise quarterback is 2 first round draft picks and so that got me wondering, would it have been possible for the Packers to steal 2 1st rounder picks from some hapless team?
Just as a little recap, in the offseason of 2008, it became clear that Packers management was getting a little fed up with Favre’s constant retirement antics and constant criticism of management philosophy (understandably as Favre wanted the Packers to get him more weapons while he was still playing but the Packers were trying to get more weapons for the future). In a bit of a power play, Favre retired and when it became obvious that the Packers were willing to move on to Aaron Rodgers, Favre un-retired and tried to force his way back into the lineup. Favre and the Packers had a standoff and in the end, the Packers sided with Rodgers and Favre was traded to the Jets for what became a 3rd round draft pick.
Just to play devil’s advocate, if the Packers had held onto Favre’s contract there’s a good chance that they could have traded him for more during the season to some team like the Patriots. The Patriots took a big hit during week 1 of the 2008 season when they lost all-pro quarterback Tom Brady for the year and had to rely on an unknown and unproven backup quarterback who had last started in high school. Luckily for the Patriots, Matt Cassel managed to keep the team afloat that year but if he had tanked, the Patriots might have been forced to look for a trade and Favre would have probably been one of the best quarterbacks available at the time. Add to that Favre’s infatuation with wide receiver Randy Moss, who just so happened to be playing for the Patriots at the time and you have to think that something could have happened.
Of course, hindsight is always 20-20, for one the Packers would have had to keep Favre on contract while they waited for someone to get hurt, which at $12 million is nothing to sneeze at (however, all of Favre’s salary at that point was not guaranteed, meaning if Favre was traded the Packers would only have to pay for the time that he was on their roster). Also, keeping a player as trade bait is probably an unwise use of a roster space and of course, and of course let’s not forget the ridiculous amount of media that would be following Favre and the Packers through out the standoff; Rodgers went through enough hell in 2008 and undoubtedly it would have been even worse if Favre was still with the team. Finally, you need someone crazy enough as the Raiders to pull off the trade, and unfortunately Bill Bellichick and the Patriots organization would have never done something that insane, especially since they would be coming back to Tom Brady next season anyways.
In the end, I have to think that the Bengals got incredibly lucky with this one. Palmer guessed wrong and actually taken himself out of the issue by retiring (I’m assuming that Palmer was betting that the Bengals would use the 4th overall pick to pick a replacement, but unfortunately the new CBA included a rookie cap and the Bengals instead choose to pick a quarterback in the 2nd round meaning salary cap issues weren’t a problem), and the Raiders had the worst luck possible in losing quarterback Jason Campbell (who also they didn’t apparently have that high hope on) right at the trade deadline. Finally, it’s the freakin’ Raiders and they’ve always been crazy and I’m guessing no other team would have been crazy enough to pull out a 11th hour, 2 high draft pick trade.
Of course, that isn’t to say that the Packers couldn’t have gotten lucky either, probably not with the Patriots but maybe some other team without an established quarterback and in desperate need for a spark. In the end, frankly I think the Packers were pretty happy in the end since in 2009 the Packers took that 3rd round pick and bundled it with some other picks and gave it to the New England Patriots to pick some guy named Clay Matthews III…——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.