Will Brett Favre play a 21st season in the NFL? Will he renounce his retirement yet again? Which team will he play for?
No, Brett Favre hasn’t announced a comeback bid. His retirement papers are still filed and documented. Heck, he hasn’t said a single word about any potential interest in returning, and realistically, he probably won’t. However, thanks to NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, the speculation has begun again and a 2011 Favre Watch has been fueled. However, let’s just pretend here for a moment, shall we, and take a look at potential landing spots if Brett does in fact return. With the current NFL Lockout pushing things back and creating a major disadvantage for rookie quarterbacks, it only makes sense for Favre speculation to be making waves. Here are some teams that would be smart to at least consider adding a veteran quarterback:
Where Kurt Warner failed, could Favre find redemption? With a seasoned veteran (Warner) out of the picture, the formerly Super Bowl contending Cardinals slipped to mediocrity behind a horrible quarterback carousel involving Derek Anderson, John Skelton, and Max Hall. If the Cards’ can’t land Kevin Kolb or lure Donovan McNabb or Vince Young to Arizona, perhaps they will consider trying the “old veteran way” again by signing Favre. Arizona is still just two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, boasts a stud receiver in Larry Fitzgerald, and has a solid corps of running backs. If they don’t find their passer early, the Favre rumors could heat up quickly.
Vince Young is done in Tennessee, Kerry Collins has proven to be ineffective as a starter, Rusty Smith is a joke, and Jake Locker doesn’t appear to be ready to start. Enter Favre, who would be once again backed by one of the league’s top running backs (Chris Johnson), while he would also have potential game-breakers in Kenny Britt and Jared Cook to throw to. The possibility of a Randy Moss re-signing may or may not prove to be the icing on the cake.
San Francisco 49ers
With rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick seen as the potential future franchise passer and unsigned Alex Smith likely coming back to prove that title is rightfully his, there doesn’t seem to be a spot for the 41-year old Favre in San Francisco. However, new head coach Jim Harbaugh may have winning on his mind early, and with a talented defense, and an offense backed by an elite running back and tight end, this could actually be an ideal situation for Favre. Brett would have the weapons to succeed, could mentor Kaepernick, and would be playing in a division that could realistically allow the 49ers to easily get back to the playoffs.
Chad Henne hasn’t received anything close to a full backing by Miami’s front office after an unde-whelming 2010 season, and there’s really no strong competition on the roster to push him for the job. If Favre shows interest, the Dolphins could have an arguable upgrade that could help the team in 2011, and serve as a stop-gap to a 2011 draft pick at the position. Favre would be blessed with a solid offensive line, an improving no-name defense, and an elite receving option in Brandon Marshall.
Carson Palmer is threatening to retire and is almost certainly done in Cincy, while the team may not be fully confident in rookie quarterback Andy Dalton to lead them into the fire just yet. Favre could come in and serve as an upgrade over the erratic and inconsistent Palmer, while his presence could potentially convince the Bengals to take one last shot on the Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco duo. While this would be an elite pairing likely made five years too late, the move would undoubtedly increase ticket sales and offer some optimism for the 2011 season after a tumultuous 4-12 season in 2010.
Mike Shanahan has burned a bridge with Donovan McNabb, and after failing to address the quarterback position in the 2011 NFL Draft, is starting at a 2011 season with John Beck as his starter. While the team is likely to bring back Rex Grossman to compete with Beck, no one can envision a Daniel Snyder-led franchise not chasing a bigger name. Favre has to be near the top of the available free agent veterans (although Washington seems to be high on Vince Young), and we all know Snyder will pay the money if he wants Favre badly enough. This isn’t the best situation for Favre, however, as Washington’s offensive line isn’t the greatest, they don’t have a star running back, and their only proven wide receiver (Santana Moss) is over 30 and not currently under contract.
The Raiders are probably the least realistic option on this list, but with Al Davis, you just never know. Favre would be running for his life behind a suspect offensive line, but would have a steady tight end (if Zach Miller returns), a running back possibly on the verge of elite status, and an explosive group of receivers that collectively have the potential to be very dangerous. Jason Campbell is well-liked by Al Davis, so the move seems unlikely.
There were some whispers about Favre to Carolina a few months back, and while they didn’t hold any weight then, a Favre signing isn’t impossible in Carolina. Favre could serve as a stop-gap for the rebuilding Panthers as Cam Newton gets ready to take over, while his presence could convince start receiver Steve Smith to hang out. If Favre returns, he’ll most likely want to go somewhere he can win, however, making Carolina a less than tempting destination.
Matt Hasselbeck has shown signs of regression and is no longer under contract, which puts Seattle’s immediate future in the hands of the unproven Charlie Whitehurst. If Seattle can’t land Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb, or bring Hasselbeck back, looking to an under-valued Favre might not be the worst idea in the world. Seattle has a few nice targets in the passing game, but their ground attack and offensive line are both fairly suspect. Again, if Favre wants to win, Seattle is another quarterback-needy team that will likely have to find their starter elsewhere.
While all of the above are certainly interesting to think about or even realistic, one last try with Minnesota can’t be ruled out. Head coach Leslie Frazier has been adamant about the team no longer chasing after or waiting for Favre, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still be interested in bringing him back under the right circumstances. They have a rookie quarterback in place, but with a possibly shortened off-season, Christian Ponder may not be ready to take over, while the slight possibility of Favre picking up where he left off in 2009 could be tempting. Things didn’t go well for Favre in Minnesota in 2010, but people tend to forget that Brad Childress played a major hand in the team’s ineffectiveness early, while Sidney Rice’s hip injury that kept him out of games until the second half of the season hurt the offense considerably. If Favre was guaranteed his starting spot and Rice was brought back, one more try at a Super Bowl push wouldn’t be completely unrealistic.