Playing Devil’s Advocate: Did the Packers sell Brett Favre for too little?

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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…

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • PackersRS

    I think the biggest difference is that Favre wanted to play, whereas Palmer wanted to stay retired.

    Teams knew that TT didn’t have the option to simply put Favre on the bench, it would’ve derailed the season even more.

    And another issue was the conditional “no trade to the division” clause. Not a lot of teams would’ve put up with that.

    Not to mention the lack of desperate teams like the Raiders.

    It’s a completely different situation than Cutler, also, because Cutler was young when the deal was made. Favre was 39.

    In the end, TT took the deal he could. In fact, he even got a better deal than antecipated, as Favre was parting to TB, before the Jets offered a better deal in the last minute.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I would argue that Palmer wanted to play as well, only he chose a different strategy to get his point across, and it backfired on him. I agree that the quick divorce was probably the best, and that meant with the trade with the Jets, I do think that if Palmer had applied for re-instatement then it basically would have been what Favre had did. Actually coming to think about it, I’m sort of surprised that Palmer didn’t.

    • Bubbaloo

      PackerRS, I am pretty sure Fave was 37 at the time, he played his last game at 41, with a birthday in (?)November I think. No big deal, just glad he left.

      • PackersRS

        It’s been longer than I thought…

        • Thomas Hobbes

          Well either way, Favre was old, really really old

  • http://httl bill from jersey

    favre played around with rodgers way to much during his prozak years.the faster they got of the favra-donna they better for the whole team.i still cannot fathom how the real brett really was….kudos to holmgren…ahhh but he was still young and moldable.one more thing,how great can this man[ arod ] become,im still pinching myself

  • Bubbaloo

    What does it matter what they got for Favre, it’s ancient history! Ask the Jets if they think they over or underpaid with a #3 pick, Favre basically destroyed the team with his preferential treatment, prima-donna act, private locker room, and weekly trips home. The Jets at this point are probably glad it worked out as it did, Favre got Mangini fired, the Jets hired Blowhard, and the rest is history. Favre is History. And the Packer are writing History.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Like I mentioned in the article, hindsight is always 20-20 and if Favre hadn’t imploded near the end of the season with the Jets or if Rodgers hadn’t done as well, we would all be here crying that we didn’t get a couple more years out of Favre. I would argue that Favre still had it in him, as shown the next year when he went to the Vikings.

  • FireMMNow

    You cannot consider anything that the Raiders do as a benchmark for “market value”. We all thought they were making these deals because Al was a little old in the tooth. Nope, they are just crazy SOBs from top to bottom.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      I dunno if this is helping my cause any, but Bears also gave up two first round picks to acquire a franchise quarterback. But in a way, even if it is crazy, the Raiders are following the bench mark for disgruntled quarterbacks.

  • Savage57

    No distress, no SOS situation with Favre and that reduced his trade value. TT’s only weakness as a GM that I would comment on is his seeming inabilty to realize max value for players on their way out. Wolf was much better at dealing and receiving value for guys headed out of Dodge.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Really, I would argue the exact opposite, with the Packers behind Rodgers, everyone else in the league knew that Favre had to go and that definitely drove down his price since in the worst case scenario, the Packers would probably had to cut Favre. Palmer on the other hand, by staying retired I think alleviated some of the craziness by not pushing the issue by reporting

  • Jim

    I agree w/ Fire MMnow, do not look to the Raiders for any kind of guideline. And I really don’t think that you can put a value on eliminating the harm that Favre was doing by just being around.
    Also, hindsight is 20-20, not 50-50

  • http://none GalaxyM81

    In all fairness, I cheered much for Favre when he played fo GB. Favre is history, I do wish everyone would let go of this and let Favre ride off into the sunset.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Well at this point Favre has to want to ride off to the sunset and he’s killing his chances recently. Also, I fail to understand why people are so dismissive of Favre, like it or not, Favre will always be part of the Packers, he’s done too much wearing green and gold. Yes he screwed it up when he left, but that doesn’t change the fact that Favre will always be a Packer

  • marpag

    Even the Bears were foolish to give up two “ones” for Cutler – and Cutler, for all his critics, is still a tolerable starter in his prime. But it’s absolute insanity to give up two ones for Palmer. Just totally, inexplicably asinine. The short-lived revival of the Raiders is now officially over.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Completely agree especially considering that there’s supposedly a explosion of franchise quarterbacks in next year’s draft.

  • JimR_in_DC

    Who’s this Brett Favre fella you’re talkin’ about?

    • Thomas Hobbes

      No idea, I thought we were talking about Randy Moss infatuations

  • CSS

    I can’t imagine Bill Belichick tolerating Favre’s improvisation or turnovers. I understand the sentiment you’re trying to express with the example, but no way would he trade for Favre let alone give up a 1st round pick. Belichick covets picks, hates guys that don’t play smart ball week to week.

    • Thomas Hobbes

      Of course, but that was just an example of the pieces falling in place, because that’s exactly what happened with the Raiders. If it was anyone other than Bill Bellichick…say Josh McDaniels, then it totally could have happened

  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

    Just want to say I love the discussion here…