Brett Favre Hold Out: Is He Football's Roger Clemens?

Jeffrey SantonAnalyst IFebruary 28, 2008

Once again, NFL offseason fun begins.  Tonight will open the free agency and die-hard fans abroad will be waiting to see their team stream across ESPN with a new acquisition.

Many teams will have to make very important decisions about resigning the players they already have, and find brand new pieces to fit the puzzle.  If successful in this, they might have a chance to bring a championship to their city.

Most of the talk thus far has replicated that of the last couple of years—it’s all about Brett Favre and whether or not he will be partaking in another season with the Packers.

Much like baseball’s Roger Clemens, many people feel Favre’s inability—or refusal—to give the team a definitive answer one way or another is selfish, putting himself above the team.

In Clemens’ case you could even say that he is putting himself above the whole game more so than a single team.  We have seen it time and time again with both players, and if Brett Favre weren't Brett Favre this kind of behavior would not fly.

Clemens and Favre are similar in this respect.  They are able to hold out much longer than anyone else because of who they are.  The difference between them, though, is that a starting pitcher only plays every five games while the quarterback is usually the most important player on the field in every game.

Also, Clemens was not on a roster.  He was simply floating around and any team that wanted him late was making the decision to sign him.  No one’s hand was being forced.

The argument many make is that Favre is hurting his team because delaying a decision makes it difficult for the Packers to fill their roster appropriately.  I disagree.

No matter what, there are next to no quarterbacks available in free agency.  Derek Anderson is at the top of the list this year and he is restricted.  Plus, Cleveland made a fairly solid offer yesterday and most agree that he will accept.

So whether Favre decides against play now or in two months, Aaron Rodgers would be the man in Green Bay.

If Favre were to say now that he is coming back for another season it would probably help the team sign some free agents.  So think about this: Brett Favre would actually be helping the Green Bay Packers by holding out in announcing his retirement, if that’s what he decides.

Free agents are more likely to sign with the Packers if they are 75 percent convinced Brett will be back.  A wide receiver like Moss—the fun free agent linked to the Packers thus far—certainly wouldn't rush to Green Bay for an Aaron Rodgers’ led franchise.

The thought of a magical season with Brett Favre, who had the Packers at the doorstep of the Super Bowl last year, is much more appealing.

If the Packers hadn't spent a first round pick in 2005 on Rodgers and if a Doug Peterson-type quarterback were the only option given a late Favre retirement, it’s true that he would be hindering the team greatly.  But the bottom line is, this year that is not the case.

Packers fans should also be pleased that Favre is, in a sense, holding team management's feet to the fire.  They were close to real victory last year, and Favre’s holding out just may be his way of forcing management to obtain the key players the team needs to get to—and win—the big one this year.

Folks, if it were already the halfway point in training camp and Favre was still undecided, he would be holding the Packers hostage and it would be hurting the team.

But as of now, I say the delay is not really hurting them.  Plus, if he is retiring and waits to announce that decision, it would probably prove beneficial for the Packers.