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|Will Brett Favre make a dramatic return back to Green Bay? That decision is up to the legendary quarterback.|
A rare talent, Packers quarterback Brett Favre now holds a rare distinction.
Without having an official no-trade clause in his contract, Favre has an unofficial no-trade clause in the leverage he has.
If the Packers agree to trade Favre to any team, the quarterback can veto the deal simply by declining to report. Then Favre's rights would revert back to Green Bay, which would be forced to take him back along with his $12 million base salary -- or release him.
To carry's Favre salary, and all the distractions that came along with it, would be an enormous financial and emotional burden for the Packers. Thus Green Bay would have to commit to keeping Favre or to trade him.
But unless it is a team that appeals to Favre then the Packers quarterback can continue vetoing deals until he has a satisfactory new home.
Basically, if Favre unretires he gets to play where he wants.
Neither Favre nor his agent, Bus Cook, has revealed which teams, or team, that would be, though speculation has swirled around Minnesota and Carolina. Yet it is as inconceivable to think Green Bay would trade Favre in its division as it is that it would release him, giving him the same option.
Thus, according to NFL executives, Favre's trade value is well below market value. It is as if he has the same rights accorded a 10-5 player in Major League Baseball, where any player who has spent 10 seasons in the league, including five straight for one team, can veto a deal.
The NFL has no such rule, but Favre now has such powers. There will be no trade of Favre unless he approves it, eliminating the prospect of him playing for any number of teams. Market value in Favre's case is irrelevant because even though he could be on the open market, he never will be, not officially.
Now, if and when Favre sends a letter to the NFL and the Packers asking to be reinstated and he officially unretires, Green Bay will have approximately 24 hours to reinstate him. If and when Favre unretires, the Packers -- who already have said they refuse to release their quarterback -- will have only two viable options.
»They can take back Favre in whatever role they have for him.
»They can search for a city in which Favre is willing to play and take a substandard deal from that team for their legendary quarterback.
Neither option would appear to be particularly appealing to the Packers, but they are better than the only other alternative, which is to release Favre, giving him the freedom to sign with any of the Packers' three divisional rivals in the NFC North.
These are the only ways this volatile and unpredictable story can play out; any other way is purely fantasy football.
It also helps explain why, in Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column on SI.com, one NFL general manager said of Packers general manager Ted Thompson: "Ted's got no choice. If he doesn't take Favre back, he's an idiot."
It is not unlike the case involving Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens in 2004. Back then, the 49ers agreed to trade Owens to the Baltimore Ravens for a second-round draft pick. But Owens refused to play in Baltimore and negotiated with other teams as if the trade never would go through.
Eventually, he was right. San Francisco was forced to send Owens to Philadelphia for a conditional fifth-round pick and defensive end Brandon Whiting.
Just as San Francisco's return was pennies on the dollar, so too would be Green Bay's in the event it opted to trade Favre.
In fact, the consensus is that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, even as unproven as he is, would bring back far more in trade value than Favre. But the Packers have no plans to trade Rodgers, and they will have an exceedingly difficult time trading Favre for anything of value.
So now it is Favre -- not the Packers -- who fully controls where the iconic quarterback spends the upcoming season.