After 16 seasons, several NFL passing records and a Super Bowl title, the Brett Favre era in Green Bay -- and the drawn-out saga that came along with an offseason of contentious talks after his unretirement -- finally came to an end early Thursday morning.
"This has been awesome," Favre said in his first public comments on Thursday shortly after landing in Morristown, N.J., with his wife Deanna and Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
The draft pick traded for Favre turns into a third-round selection if he plays in 50 percent of the plays this season, a second-rounder if he plays in 70 percent of the plays and the Jets qualify for the playoffs, and a first-round pick if he plays in 80 percent of the plays and Jets make it to the Super Bowl.
Schefter reports if Favre were to retire after the first year and the Packers got the Jets' first-round pick, then the Packers would send the Jets a fifth-round pick in 2010. If the Packers get the Jets' second-round pick, the Jets would get back the Packers' sixth-round pick in 2010. If the Packers get the Jets' third-round pick, the Jets would get back the Packers' seventh-round pick in 2010. Additionally, in the scenario in which the Packers would get the Jets' first-round pick, Favre must play in at least 50 percent of one playoff game for Green Bay to get that compensation.
Schefter also reports that the Packers took great pains to ensure Favre would not be traded to the Vikings -- or any other NFC North team -- by inserting a "poison pill" in the deal. If Favre were to be traded to any team in the Packers' division, the Jets would have to surrender three first-round picks to Green Bay. The trade also includes provisions preventing a trade to another team if that new team were to trade him to the NFC North.
Schefter reports Favre's contract, scheduled to pay him $12 million in base salary this season, will stand. It will not be renegotiated, though Favre's agent, Bus Cook, requested more.
It was once thought unthinkable that the Packers would trade Favre, the holder of almost every meaningful passing record in the NFL. But the events over the last month, and especially over the last few days, forced the issue. In fact, it seemed the only resolution to what turned into a bitter divorce.
"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."
The Packers decided to move forward with Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback after Favre announced his retirement in March. Given their commitment to Rodgers, team officials weren't particularly receptive when Favre decided a little over a month ago that he might want to play after all -- the latest development in several years' worth of flip-flopping about his football future.
"Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished on the field and for the impact he made in the state," Green Bay officials said in a statement.
"It is with some sadness that we make this announcement, but also with the desire for certainty that will allow us to move the team and organization forward in the most positive way possible."
"We just felt like this was an opportunity to go get somebody of Brett's stature and what he's accomplished," Tannenbaum, the Jets general manager said during a conference call early Thursday morning. "We felt it was in the best interest of the team and when the opportunity presented itself, we felt it was the right move for us to make and we went ahead and did it."
Tannenbaum, who said he had a "good" conversation with Favre, wouldn't speculate whether the quarterback will play in New York beyond this season.
"We had discussions with him and his agent, Bus Cook," Tannenbaum said, "and we're going into this and we're going to take this one year at a time and we're excited to have Brett on the team this year."
"It's a bittersweet moment for us," Tannenbaum said. "I have all the respect in the world for Chad as a person, as a player. We've accomplished a lot of good things with Chad ... He gave his heart and soul to this organization for a long, long time. I really appreciate everything he's done."
Favre left Green Bay on Wednesday, boarding a private plane that left for Hattiesburg, Miss., at 1:25 p.m. EDT with his wife, Deanna, and Cook. Favre's family home is near Hattiesburg.
The Jets went into training camp with an open competition between Pennington and Kellen Clemens after neither established themselves during a 4-12 season. Pennington was 1-7 as the starter and was benched midway through the season. Clemens went 3-5, but Pennington actually had the better season statistically.
After some hope for reconciliation between the franchise and perhaps its most beloved player earlier this week, the final split between the Packers and Favre became obvious Tuesday evening.
McCarthy said Favre couldn't seem to get past emotional wounds that were opened as tensions mounted in recent weeks -- even with the chance to win his starting job back potentially on the table.
"The train has left the station, whatever analogy you want," McCarthy said Tuesday. "He needs to jump on the train and let's go. Or, if we can't get past things that have happened, I have to keep the train moving."
McCarthy spoke to Favre again Tuesday night, but there was no indication that their conversation did anything to change the fractured relationship between Favre and the franchise.
"It was just very general," McCarthy said of the conversation with Favre, who was excused from practice on Wednesday. "Just how he was doing, where he was with the process, things like that."
McCarthy said he was happy the rest of his players were getting a chance to move forward.
"We talked about it last night," McCarthy said. "The players want resolution, they want what everybody wants. To come out here every day and talk about somebody that is not here and then shows up, it's gone on too long, and understandably so. They want to play football."
Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.