- John Clayton, NFL senior writer
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What is the price to be paid for waffling on retirement? Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre learned the consequences Wednesday night when he was traded to the New York Jets -- his least preferred destination.
Favre took on Packers management and lost. Now, he must try to rediscover the itch to play football in the AFC.
Here are answers to five questions involving the trade:
Q: Why did Favre accept the trade?
A: The clock in Favre's head said it was time to get on the field and get ready for the 2008 season. Because of that, he couldn't be cute and wait for stronger alternatives. Let's face it, Favre was all over the place during his comeback from retirement. He confused the Packers by telling them he had the itch to play but he kept expressing a desire to be released. He spent a week on hold while commissioner Roger Goodell tried to bring the two sides together for a negotiated solution. None of this happened. The Packers traded Favre to the team that gave them the best value. Favre had to accept a future as a Jet if he wanted to continue playing.
Q: Is it possible for the Jets to trade him again?
A: Unless Favre signed an agreement saying he could not be traded again, the Jets would have the right to shop him to the Vikings, but I'm sure they won't. Jets fans would not allow Favre to slip out of town. No, the Jets dealt for him to make a run at the playoffs. The acquisition of Favre spells the end of the Chad Pennington era, for sure. He will probably be released or traded, while Kellen Clemens will stick around as a backup. The Jets must feel as though they won a lottery in obtaining Favre. Too bad he might not feel the same.
Q. Who is the biggest winner in this trade?
A: I'd put my money on Packers coach Mike McCarthy. He felt Favre's attitude would have caused damage in his locker room and he stayed true to his word that he was committed to Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy won a few fans here -- obviously none in Favre's camp -- after his lengthy news conference Tuesday. He's a no-nonsense guy but he's loyal to the players. Against tremendous pressure, McCarthy felt Favre wasn't committed to the Packers and wore Favre down in more than 10 hours of talks. Now, the pressure is on McCarthy to win with Rodgers.
Q: Did the Packers get good value for Favre?
A: Yes, even though they would have preferred a first-round pick in return. The market was set for an aging quarterback a few years ago when Steve McNair was sent to the Ravens for a fourth-round pick. To get an upgrade based on performance was a plus. Maybe the Packers could have held out a little longer, but the damage within the locker room might not have been worth it. The Packers needed to move Favre quickly. By doing so, they got him to agree to the trade.
Q: Does this trade make the Jets a playoff team?
A: That's debatable. They lack speed at wide receiver. Coach Eric Mangini is putting together a decent defense, but Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace need to come through as playmakers. It will be interesting to see how Favre fits in with Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who are younger than him. The Jets will have a good offensive line with the addition of Alan Faneca, and they should have a decent running game, designed by former Nebraska coach Bill Callahan. The question is whether Favre can have fun in a new line of green.
Senior writer John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.
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