Brett Favre this morning is a New York Jet.
Favre, the Green Bay icon and future Pro Football Hall of Famer who retired, then unretired, then found out the Packers truly intended to move on without him, has been traded to the Jets by the Pack.
Details of the trade and terms of any reworked contract provisions aren't available. But Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson said early this morning:
"I am looking forward to seeing Brett Favre in a New York Jets uniform. He represents a significant addition to this franchise, and reflects our commitment to putting the best possible team on the field. Mike Tannenbaum and his football administration staff did a great job of navigating this complex process. I am excited about welcoming Brett, Deanna and their family to the Jets organization."
And Tannenbaum, on a conference call with Jets reporters that started at 1:13 a.m. today, likened the sudden developments that made Favre a Jet to the process that brought Vinny Testaverde to the Jets in June 1998.
"We were just monitoring the situation, for lack of a better word," Tannenbaum said of Favre and the Packers' recent exchanges. "When the opportunity presented itself, it was something we had to take a real long look at. For a long time, I just didn't think this was going to come to fruition. It just heated up recently.
"The only part of the process we can control is preparation," Tannenbaum added. "We had a lot of great preparation. When the opportunity presented itself, we were ready to roll and we rolled quick."
Tannenbaum also said that, "unless something unforeseen happens," Chad Pennington will no longer be a Jet. Pennington will be involved in a transaction, not a part of the trade for Favre, that will be announced by 4 p.m. today.
Tannenbaum said he hadn't talked yet to Pennington, taken with the 18th pick of the first round of the 2000 draft, but that Mangini had.
"It's a bittersweet moment for us," the GM said of parting ways with Pennington, who has been competing with Kellen Clemens since March in a QB competition that has now come to an unexpected end. "I just have all the respect in the world for Chad as a person and a player. ... He gave his heart and soul to this organization for a long, long time. I appreciate everything he's done."
Nevertheless, the Jets' starting QB going forward will be Favre. Johnson, Tannenbaum, Mangini and the Jets have landed their biggest name of a busy off-season and preseason of acquisitions by pulling off arguably the biggest trade in franchise history.
Favre is the NFL's only three-time Associated Press MVP, the NFL's career record holder in touchdown passes (442), completions (5,377), attempts (8,758), yards (61,655) and victories by a starting quarterback (160). He has nine Pro Bowl berths to his name and a Super Bowl XXXI ring for his finger.
The Jets seemed from the outset only mildly interested in Favre and unlikely to be able to bring the man who has made No. 4 famous to the New York market. They were always mentioned as being "on the outside" of trade talks as Favre, who decided after retiring in March that he wants to play this season, and the Packers, who have decided to proceed with Aaron Rodgers as their QB, began discussing their options.
But recent stories had the Jets still hanging around on the fringes of the Favre picture. Then early today it was reported that Green Bay was listening to trade offers from both the Jets and Tampa Bay but seemed about to deal the 38-year-old, 17-year veteran to the Buccaneers.
Yet as the day wore on, word was that the Jets were making progress in talks with the Packers on trade terms and with Favre and agent Bus Cook on contract and quality-of-life issues. Perhaps playing into Favre's decision was that the Jets not only don't play in New York City but also, beginning in early September, will relocate to the Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., with hunting and fishing opportunities not far from the suburban campus.
Tannenbaum was at New York's JFK Airport with the team as it boarded a flight for Cleveland, where they will play the Browns in their preseason opener tonight. But Tannenbaum did not stay at the airport, instead returning to his office in Hempstead, N.Y., as negotiations intensified.
Finally, around midnight, the Jets, who seemed to be at the bottom of the list of teams Favre wanted to play for — behind the Vikings, Bears and even the Packers — and at the end of a list of other options — he was considering retirement to his Kiln, Miss., home and an offer to remain with the Packers in a marketing capacity — knew they had come away with the player they nearly selected in the second round of the 1991 NFL draft, only to have Atlanta pluck him away one pick ahead of them.
Favre joins an offense that added seven-time Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca, one-time Super Bowl offensive lineman Damien Woody, three-time Pro Bowl fullback Tony Richardson and Favre's longtime Green Bay red zone target, TE Bubba Franks. Meanwhile, the defense was refashioned with the additions of DT Kris Jenkins by trade, OLB Calvin Pace through undrafted free agency and OLB Vernon Gholston with the sixth pick of the draft.
Many questions were answered with these blockbuster developments, and many questions remain. But the question marks will be crowded out by all the exclamation points as word of these developments fans out across the New York area, the NFL landscape and Jets Nation. Say it again slowly to let it sink in: Brett Favre is a Jet.
We will bring you more comments and details on newyorkjets.com, today and in the coming days as we get them.