The time has come to ask the question that has been on the mind of Jets fans since August - Was it worth it to get Brett Favre from the Green Bay Packers for the 2008 NFL season?
Favre ended up costing the Jets:
1) A conditional fourth round pick.
1a) Since he played in 50 percent of the plays this season, the pick jumped to a third-round selection.
(Had the Jets made the playoffs, since Favre played in 70 percent of the Jets plays, it would have become a second-rounder, a first-rounder if Favre took the Jets to the Super Bowl.)
-And since it is now a third-round selection, the Jets get a Packers seventh-round pick in 2010.
2) A head coach.
3) Probably at least one season once Favre decides to retire, since the Jets have no one ready to take the reins.
The Favre trade won't go down in history as one of the worst trades of all time - the Jets only gave up a third-round pick (if I have the correct info) for a future Hall of Famer.
It's the more intangible stuff surrounding Favre that makes one really question this trade.
I'm willing to bet the rumors that Favre didn't like playing for Eric Mangini (he named his son for Brett Favre - what more would Favre want?) were a big factor in Mangini being fired a day after the season ended. I bet it rubbed Favre the wrong way that he was made to run a lap for a transgression (I forget what it was - but I remember that it was lead-story news, that Favre had to run a punishment lap in Jets camp) when he first arrived. And now the Jets are without a coach, and entering a transition stage. Mangini could very well be looking for a job anyway had he not had Favre at quarterback this year - but with the firing of the coach seeming to link so closely to Favre's ineffectiveness this past month, this is a strike against trading for Favre.
Then comes the question always surrounding Favre - when will he retire? People close to the Jets seem to want him to come back (and perhaps that's why Mangini is no longer the coach), because the Jets have no one to take over at quarterback if Favre goes. So a lot depends on this MRI that Favre had the day after the season ended - if he's healthy enough, I have to believe he'll be back next year. So really, the Jets will be getting two years out of Favre, hopefully a better year, in which case the jury remains out on the Favre trade.
If Favre decides to retire, comes back with a shoulder injury, or in any way strings the Jets along in his retirement decision, it becomes a terrible, terrible trade, which sets the Jets back a couple of years in both the quarterback and head coaching positions.
Where do I stand right now? Well, I want to make this clear - I do not think the Jets would have had the kind of success the Dolphins did this year, or even that they did (9-7 is still a rare Jets winning season), had Chad Pennington been the Jets quarterback. Pennington probably would have been hurt again. The one big difference between Pennington this year and last is that he had adequate protection - something that Favre did not have at the beginning of this year. Favre is tougher than Pennington - he absorbed the hits better (or maybe not - the MRI results may let us know that). So while I love Pennington, I'm not going to sit here and say that the Jets came up short on this Favre deal because look at what Pennington did with Miami. I said it at the time - it was best for both parties to part ways when they did.
And I'll add this - I was excited when Brett Favre came to the Jets. I wasn't looking forward to the NFL season with my usual zeal this year, until the Favre trade happened. And he came through for 3 months, giving Jets fans a lot of excitement. Problem is, the season is four months long. Five if your team is one that makes the playoffs, and the bottom line is that the Jets did not do that.
So I'm not ready to say the Favre trade was a disaster. But it certainly hasn't been a success. And depending on what happens this off-season, it could head towards disaster more quickly than it emerges as a success.