...Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me.
OK. You have a 38 year QB who's taken your club to countless playoff games, 2 Super Bowls (winning 1 of them). In 2007, you surround him one of the top offensive lines in the league, playmaking WR's, a solid running game (Thanks to Ryan Grant), and a top 5 defense. All this to make one final run for a Super Bowl before the next generation of QB's take over. Why was this such a tough decision Brett? You have to feel good about finishing where you did last year. 2007 was a significant improvement over 2006 and there is no reason to feel that would not be a Super bowl favorite this year. But you couldn't make up your mind.
Here what your haste has cost you. 1) Your starting job in Green Bay. 2) Your relationship with management. What a way to go out.
I hate to be the one to say this, but I'm with management on this one. It's not easy replacing someone with Brett Favre's production, but you have to start somewhere. 3 years ago, it almost happened. In 2005, there was speculation that Favre would retire. At that time, he was unsure setting the Packers up every postseason where they must ask themselves "is this the year Brett Favre retires?" In anticipation, the Packers spend their 2005 1st round draft pick on Aaron Rodgers. The Pack could've had some budding young talent with that pick...WR Roddy White, CB Marlin Jackson, DE Luis Castillo, OG Logan Mankins, (all players that started last year and all players who could've played a role with the Packers this year). Fast forward to 2008. Aaron Rodgers has spent the last 3 seasons riding the bench where he may have been a starter elsewhere. I understand management's decision to back Rodgers. They have invested a lot in him.
Since we are on the topic of draft picks, let's talk about 2008, which is Favre's supposed year of retirement. The Packers gave him an opportunity from February through March to decide whether or not he should come back and play for 2008. As outlined above, the answer is relatively simple. By walking away, Favre is giving up a legitimate shot to win it all in 2008. That doesn't sound very Favre-like. I'll get to this a little more later. What Favre ends up telling the Packers (let me remind you that he had 60 days to come to this decision) is that he is retiring. So what do the Packers do? They prepare to move on without him. They spend a 2nd round pick on Brian Brohm (one of the top rated QB's in this year's draft) and a 7th rounder on Matt Flynn of LSU. The fact that the Pack spent a 2nd round pick on Brohm says it all. 1) The Packers aren't 100% confident in Rodgers no matter what they state in public. 2) They need that extra insurance policy if Rodgers doesn't make it through the whole season. No team would risk a 2nd round draft on a QB if they didn't need one. If Favre comes back, the Packers will have 4 QB's on the roster. it looks like the 7th rounder gets cut due to a #'s game...wasted draft pick. If I was management, I would be PO'd to hear Favre is coming back after making all these offseason adjustments. Favre has been the face of this franchise since '92 (along with the great Reggie White) but at some point in time, Favre must realize that football is a team sport and it's not all about him. Yes, he is the Iron Man and he HAS laid it all on the line with uncountable consecutive starts in football. But football is complicated. Every year Favre decides to allow the team to speculate about his retirement could damage the club's future, the Rodgers pick demonstrates that.
Time to hang it up for good Brett. If you unretire, there might be a chance that you start sometime during the regular season (when Rodgers gets pulled due to performance or injured). You also affected the career of 7th round pick Matt Flynn, who gets cut before ever playing a preseason snap and may never play again. You've already dangled that carrot in front of Rodgers for 3 years, how many more should it be? Now you ask the Packers to cut you because you feel "unwanted"? I think the Packers have done a good job of catering to you over the last 10 years. Why would they want to cut you? You would be a cap hit for the next 3 years. If you really want to play, start negotiating with other teams and politely ask one of them to trade for you. The Packers deserve at least that.
So there you have it. I personally think older veterans retire and unretire just to skip OTA's and minicamps. If Brett was doing that, then it backfired this time around. Like I said above. It seems very un-Favre-like to retire when you have a solid playoff caliber team like the 2007 Packers.