On the same day we speculated that the stage could be set for the Second Annual Brett Favre Retirement to be followed by the Second Annual Brett Favre Unretirement, the Jets threw the NFL world a curve ball by releasing Favre from the reserve-retired list.
Per Dave Hutchinson of the Newark Star-Ledger, the Jets announced the move Tuesday night.
The move means that Favre is an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team.
Including the Minnesota Vikings.
Favre wanted to play for the Vikings last year, but the Packers refused to grant him an unconditional release. At one point, the Packers accused the Vikings of tampering with Favre, based on communications between Favre and Vikings offensive coordinator Darell Bevell and head coach Brad Childress. (The charges were found to be unsubstantiated.)
Green Bay held firm in its position, and Favre ultimately accepted a trade to the Jets. Under the terms of the deal, the Jets would have owed the Packers three first-round draft picks if they had traded Favre to the Vikings, Bears, or Lions.
The Jets reportedly declined to release Favre in February, when he retired for the second time in less than a full year.
“[Agent] Bus [Cook] and Mike [Tannenbaum] have been talking about this for a while,” Favre said in a statement. “Nothing has changed. At this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football.”
But unless Favre is planning to sign a one-day contract to officially retire (again) with the Packers, there’s no reason for the Jets to make the move if Favre has no intention of returning to football.
Our guess? Once Cook sufficiently and successfully pestered the Broncos to trade quarterback Jay Cutler to the Bears, Cook embarked on an effort to pester Tannenbaum to release Favre, if for no reason other than to clear out any potential impediments to the wild gray hair that might crawl up Brett’s butt in the next month or two.
The next step for Cook? He’ll start pestering Bevell and Childress to start pestering Brett to provide the final piece for one of the most talented teams in NFL history at every position except the one that counts the most.