Friday, July 25, 2008

Why the Jets should trade for Brett Favre

Just when you think you're out, they drag you back in.

It was 24 hours ago when Eric Mangini said he was "very happy" with his two quarterbacks. Now New York Jets blogs and message boards are buzzing about Favre coming to the Jets after Chris Mortensen's report on

Forget the off-field distractions. Forget his gunslinging mentality and his mediocre seasons before his resurgent 2007 campaign.

General Manager Mike Tannenbaum spent a lot of money this offseason improving his team. After a 4-12 campaign marred by an awful offensive line and defensive players forced to play positions they aren't comfortable in, Tannenbaum shipped out the square pegs (Jonathan Vilma, Dewayne Robertson) and acquired Kris Jenkins, Calvin Pace, Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, and rookies Vernon Gholston and Dustin Keller to make the team bigger, faster, and better.

All that is well and good, and with a decent quarterback, the Jets look good on paper. But do the Jets even have a decent quarterback? Early reports have been negative about both Kellen Clemens and Chad Pennington, and it is a position that teams cannot afford to be weak in.

If Favre can play anywhere near the level he did last year, he completely changes the face of the offense. Thomas Jones, Laveruanues Coles, and Jerricho Cotchery are fine weapons, but none can transform an offense without a quarterback. His presence would open up the running game for Jones and Coles and Cotchery would look like a much better receiving tandem with a new quarterback.

Obviously, he carries some baggage. The will-he, won't-he retire offseason saga will likely return next season. But the Jets have no real allegiance to Favre. They could trade or cut ties with him and not have to deal with what Ted Thompson has to deal with in Green Bay.

In the meantime he and Pennington would be great tutors for Clemens. Trading for Favre would not mean the end of Clemens as the quarterback of the future. It would give the Jets another year to evaluate him and make a final decision going into the 2009 season on whether or not he can be the man.

The playbook would likely need to be cut down dramatically as Favre is a true gunslinger. But as it stands now, dumbing down the playbook for a hall-of-fame quarterback would provide a better offense than a full playbook with a weaker quarterback.

If the Jets conclude that Favre gives them the best chance to win, and they'd be willing to take him, only one obstacle stands in the way: compensation. Placing an appropriate value on a one-year rental quarterback six weeks before the first game is an impossible task.

Compensation will depend largely on how much interest other teams have in Favre. How many teams want to contend this season and can afford to take a one-year rental? Not too many. While the Packers may ask for a first round pick, chances are they will be forced to settle for a 2nd round pick or a few mid-round picks.

The Jets could easily offer a 3rd and a 5th next season. They will likely receive a 3rd round pick for Vilma and a 4th round pick from last year's Pete Kendall trade. If Robertson plays 65% of the snaps with Denver, they will get another 3rd round pick. With up to three extra mid-round picks, they could move two of them for a quarterback and not be hamstrung in next year's draft.

The Packers need to trade Favre out of the division and maybe out of the conference. The Jets need a quarterback, want to contend now, and have extra picks to trade. Favre wants to go to a contender in cold weather. It works for all parties.

In many ways this makes too much sense not to happen.

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