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.
The Packers traded the future Hall of Fame quarterback to the New York Jets for a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2009, NFL Network's Adam Schefter reports.
The pick turns into a third-round selection if Favre 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 .
The Jets will hold a press conference at 6 p.m. ET Thursday in Cleveland featuring New York Jets Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson, Jets Executive Vice President/GM Mike Tannenbaum and Favre.
The Packers will hold a press conference Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.
Favre will fly to New Jersey Thursday afternoon and will tour the Jets facility today, according to Schefter. Favre has also told the Jets he wants to make trip to Cleveland, where the Jets face the Browns on Thursday night, to meet his new teammates. The team wasn't planning on him going initially, but Favre insisted.
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.
Schefter also reports that the Packers took great pains to ensure that Favre would not be traded to the Vikings by inserting a "poison pill" in the deal. If Favre were to be traded to Minnesota, the Jets would have to surrender three first-round picks to Green Bay.
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.
"I am looking forward to seeing Brett Favre in a New York Jets uniform," said Jets Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson said in a statement. "He represents a significant addition to this franchise, and reflects our commitment to putting the best possible team on the field.
"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 had been talking with the Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers since deciding earlier this week that the team and the three-time MVP couldn't co-exist.
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."
A number of fans made it clear throughout training camp that they wanted Favre on the Jets with signs and "Get Brett!" chants. Favre's new No. 4 Jets jersey already was for sale on the team's Web site about an hour after the trade was announced.
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."
The arrival of Favre signals the end of Chad Pennington's career with the Jets. Schefter reports the Jets are chartering a private plane for Pennington to fly out of Cleveland on Thursday; he will be released at 4 p.m.
"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.
In Mississippi, Favre confirmed that he was considering the Jets and Buccaneers.
The 38-year-old Favre holds most major NFL passing records and led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game last season, where they lost to the New York Giants. But Favre threw what would prove to be the decisive interception in overtime.
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.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that after approximately six hours of what he called "brutally honest" conversations over two days, the coach had determined that Favre doesn't have the right mind-set to play for the Packers.
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.