As the truth is starting to come out about the whos, whats, whens and wheres of the Favre deal, it now sounds like Tampa Bay never made an offer to the Packers and the only chance they had to deal him to another team was to ship him to the Jets. But even so, the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson had a paranoid streak running through them. Could the Jets be trading for Favre just to serve as a conduit to trading him to the Vikings?
Viking Update had discussed that possibility – a team trading a third-round pick to the Packers and then turning around and trading Favre to the Vikings for a second-round pick. But the Jets were arguably the worst team possible for the Vikings to try to work out an under-the-table deal. Although not division rivals, the Vikings and Jets have some bad blood between them.
It started in the free agent period of 2004. The Vikings and Jets were both hot on the trail of free agent Antoine Winfield. The Jets seemingly had won that race. Winfield was at the team headquarters and contract documents were being prepared for his signature. Vikings then-head coach Mike Tice wasn't going to give up on Winfield without a fight. The Big Galoot called Winfield on his wife's cell phone and made one last pitch. Winfield had a change of heart, but he was already at Jets headquarters. Through Tice's connection with the billion-dollar horse racing industry, he set up getting a private plane to fly Winfield and his wife to Minnesota. The Vikings sent a limousine to the Jets headquarters and whisked Winfield and his wife out of the Jets headquarters. The escape from New York was complete when Winfield got to Winter Park and didn't leave until he had a contract signed.
The Jets were miffed to say the least, but they would exact some revenge. In the 2005 draft, the Vikings had their eye on kicker Mike Nugent. They knew he would cost them a second-round pick in the draft, but, by all accounts, they were willing to pay that price. The Jets, who didn't have a first-round pick that year, weren't going to allow that to happen. They made a deal to move ahead of the Vikings and snagged Nugent. The following year, there were rumors that the Vikings were interested in QB Kellen Clemens. Once again, the Jets made a trade to get in front of the Vikings' second pick of the second round and scooped Clemens. The Vikings wound up taking Tarvaris Jackson at the end of the round.
Both moves almost seemed motivated by the Jets as revenge for the Winfield deal. It would seem they held a grudge and would go out of their way to make sure the Vikings didn't get someone else they coveted. So when it came down to the Jets as a landing spot for Favre, it should have come as no surprise. If any team in the league had an axe to grind with Minnesota, it would be the Jets.
But, not taking any chances, Thompson and Green Bay officials made sure of it by putting in language that makes it impossible for Favre to end up with the Vikings. The conditional fourth-round pick traded to New York turns into a third-rounder if Favre takes 50 percent of the snaps this year for the Jets. It becomes a second-rounder if Favre takes 70 percent of the snaps and the Jets make the playoffs. It becomes a first round pick if the Favre takes 80 percent of the snaps and the Jets make the Super Bowl.
It didn't end there. As a poison pill in the contract language, if the Jets tried to do a little sleight of hand and trade to Favre to the Vikings, the price would be steep. How steep? Try three first-round picks. If the Jets had any notion of using Favre as a bargaining chip to get more draft picks, the Packers quashed that with the requirement that the Jets would have to send them three first-rounders over the next three years if somehow Favre ended up in purple.
The Jets clearly won't go that route. The Packers successfully got rid of Favre and, in the process, made sure there is no chance the Vikings will get him. And now you know the rest … of the story.