The latest incarnation of the Brett Favre
saga started Monday – the first official day of the 2009 season.
For the previous three seasons, this time of year was marked by the "will he or won't he" talk concerning Favre – whether or not the veteran had plans to retire or continue his playing career. During those three seasons, Packers fans suffered through the waiting and wondering. Now it would appear to be the Jets' turn.
There continues to be wide speculation that Favre still wants to play for the Vikings, but the poison pill in his trade contract remains. While the Jets wouldn't have to surrender the two first-round picks they would have last year if they had simply acquired Favre and turned around and traded him to the Vikings, to trade him now would cost the Jets one first-round pick to the Packers if he were to be dealt to the Vikings – an extremely remote prospect.
To date, there has been no hard indication whether the Jets and new coach Rex Ryan plan to move forward with Favre as their quarterback or not. The Jets are pressed tightly against the salary cap and, if they don't have an interest in Favre as their QB for 2009, releasing him would also free up his salary against the salary cap.
The Jets have said they would like to know Favre's decision before the Combine, which gets underway next week. Perhaps then we will find out whether the potential that Favre ends up in purple and gold could be one step closer to reality.
With the first day of the 2009 season comes the ability for teams to free up salary cap space by releasing veteran players. For the Vikings that could mean Gus Frerotte might end up as a cap casualty. Frerotte was publicly upset over not regaining his starting job late in the year after he deemed himself fully recovered from a back injury that sidelined him. Although nothing appears imminent in that regard, it seems more and more likely that Frerotte won't return to the Vikings in 2009.
The Buccaneers announced that they re-signed backup QB Luke McCown to a contract, which many are speculating will mark the end of the Jeff Garcia era in Tampa.
The Browns used the first day of the new NFL year to release seven players, including backup QBs Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski. Some look at that as potentially meaning that the team might stick with both Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn for another year, although their combined salaries are pretty high for their combined production in 2008.
The Cowboys made it official Monday by releasing Pacman Jones from his incentive-laden contract.
The Lions released six players Monday, including former Viking Dwight Smith. Perhaps the biggest surprise on the list was cornerback Leigh Bodden, who was the centerpiece of the trade that sent Pro Bowl DT Shaun Rogers from the Lions to the Browns just last year.
The Falcons may be part of an NFL first in the next week or so. Rumor has it that the team is considering putting the franchise tag on Michael Koenen. Although his per-punt average was among the lowest in the league, the Falcons allowed less than 50 punt return yards all season because of Koenen's ability to get hang time on his kicks and prevent any chance of a long punt return.
The New York Jets hope to get an answer by next week whether Brett Favre intends to play with them next year. But even after they have paid up on their end of the 2008 Favre trade to Green Bay, they still can't trade Favre to the Vikings without a stiff penalty.
Year four of the Brett Favre annual offseason malaise is underway.