Gary Myers of the Daily News spoke to Jets G.M. Mike Tannenbaum about the time frame for Brett Favre's decision about playing in 2009. Tannenbaum continued the Jets practice of treading lightly when it came to finding out if the quarterback would be suiting up for another season.
"We're putting together our offseason plan," Tannenbaum said. "We hope to have initial feedback from Brett by the combine."
The draft scouting combine begins on February 18th. You don't need a sneak preview of Favre's initial feedback, you just need to look at the way he held the Packers hostage every year. He won't be making up his mind about anything but hunting in Mississippi 10 days from now, and the Jets need something a lot more definitive.
On February 27th, by league rule, the Jets have to be under the salary cap. That means they have to release Favre or they have to release a bunch of other players. They've said time and again that they'd welcome Favre back, which is their choice, but the need to create cap space means that they can't just assume he's coming back. That's why initial feedback just isn't going to cut it, they need an answer.
The whole sitting back and waiting for Favre to decide, in fact, just doesn't cut it. Myers says that the Jets don't have any leverage in the situation, but that makes no sense. Why shouldn't they just cut ties to Favre and make a fresh start of it if he continues to make it clear that he's got no particular desire to be in New York for another year?
There's this idea that the Jets are lost if Favre doesn't come back inherent to Myers' claim about leverage, but it just doesn't hold up. They've got a good running game, a good offensive line and a bright defensive coach to improve what wasn't an awful unit in 2008. Why does Favre even matter that much? There are other veterans capable of managing an offense out there, most of whom don't specialize in the game-killing mistakes that mark Favre's efforts.
Rex Ryan's got an aggressive reputation as a football coach. It's time for the Jets to take that cue and be aggressive with answering the Favre question once and for all.