Where do the Jets Go Now?
Brett Favre’s brief stint with the Jets is over and barring another early-August comeback attempt, his next step will be into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Last March Favre held a tearful press conference at the Packers’ facility to announce his 17-year career was over and it was presumed he would quietly ride into the sunset of his Mississippi home. However, as his former Packers teammates reported for another training camp, Favre regained his desire to play again. His first wish was to return to the Packers, but they had already spent months grooming Aaron Rodgers to become Favre’s replacement. His other desire was to join the Vikings, but the Packers had no intentions of sending him to their division rival.
Just three weeks before the start of the regular season, the Packers traded Favre to the Jets for a fourth-round pick, marking a bitter divorce for the legendary gunslinger and his former team.
The Jets spent nearly $160 million in offseason additions, but adding Favre gave the Jets instant credibility when they needed it most. The Giants had won Super Bowl XLII just months earlier, while the Jets crashed to a 4-12 record. The Jets were hopeful that Favre could lead the sputtering franchise to new heights, and just 12 weeks into his first season with the team, owner Woody Johnson was smiling on his return. Favre had carried the Jets to a division-best 8-3 record and citywide talk of a Jets-Giants Super Bowl began to resonate.
However, the Jets’ honeywoon quickly died. They lost four of their final five games and wrapped up with a 9-7 record and a spot outside the playoffs. Favre tossed nine interceptions and just two touchdown passes in that final strech, while bothered by an injured shoulder. He completed his final season with 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
Now as Favre plans to remain in Mississippi with his storied career presumably over, the question remains…where do the Jets go from here?
The Jets entered the offseason close to $10 million over the projected salary cap, but Favre’s retirement ($13 million) combined with the release of cornerback David Barrett ($4 million) will provide the team some spending room. With Favre’s announcement, the team’s most glaring need for next season will be finding a quarterback. The Jets currently have Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge on the roster, but the trio has just eight career starts among them.
The team could choose to explore signing a low-priced free agent to compete for the starting job in training camp, but the team’s options are thin. Jeff Garcia, Byron Leftwich and Rex Grossman are among the top names available. Browns quarterback Derek Anderson could be available through a trade, but their asking price could be lofty considering Anderson is just two years removed from a Pro Bowl season. Kerry Collins and Kurt Warner will also be eligible for free agency, but each is expected to either return to his respective team or retire.
The Jets also could choose to address their need for a quarterback in April’s NFL Draft. The Jets hold the 17th selection and the team could be eyeing Southern California quarterback Mark Sanchez.