|ESPN.com: NFC North||[Print without images]|
GREEN BAY, Wis. - If I had to interpret the Green Bay Packers' priorities in trading Brett Favre, it would go something like this:
1. Keep him away from the Minnesota Vikings
2. Get it done quickly
3. Everything else
In the end, and despite Favre's wishes, the Packers apparently gave no serious thought to discussing a deal with the Vikings, even if it would have ultimately led them to attaining maximum compensation from the New York Jets.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson is an old-school football man and couldn't accept the possibility of Favre teaming up with the Vikings to pursue the NFC North title. Thompson, in fact, is so traditional that he apparently didn't cultivate the Vikings as a bidder in order to drive up the market.
According to the NFL Network, the Jets gave up a fourth-round draft pick for Favre that could rise to a third-, second- or first-round selection depending on Favre's playing time. That's not a bad haul under the circumstances. But even if they had no intention of completing a deal with the Vikings, it's possible the Packers could have squeezed a higher guaranteed pick from the Jets if they had drawn Minnesota into the bidding -- or simply remained mum on the possibility of a deal with the Vikings and kept the Jets wondering who they were competing against.
Thompson was true to his word and took the honorable approach. But let's just say there are plenty of NFL executives who would have kept the door open -- to create a bidding war, if nothing else.
The Vikings would have proceeded cautiously, and no doubt would have been sensitive to the possibility of being used to drive up Favre's value. But it's fair to say the Packers swapped some of their leverage for principle by saying publicly and privately that they would never trade Favre to the Vikings.
With Favre out of the division (sniff, sniff), here's a look at what's happening with the rest of the NFC North's offenses: