Favre Is NFL's First $100 Million Man

ByArnie Stapleton

March 2, 2001 -- Brett Favre, the only NFL player to win the MVP award threetimes, will finish his career with the Green Bay Packers.

"I do want to be a Packer for life," Favre said Friday fromhis home in Kiln, Miss., after the 31-year-old quarterback and theteam announced a lifetime extension of his contract viateleconference.

"I couldn't envision myself playing with another team," Favresaid. "Don't want to. If that was to ever come up, I probablywould just retire. I've made enough money to where I don't need tojump ship and go somewhere else. It was just important to me tostay here."

Favre said that when he grew up, "you could almost name everyplayer at every position for years on the same team, and that wasyour team. Nowadays, it's hard to say that. And I really feel likethe Packers, more so than any team have made it a point to keeptheir players in house."

Coach Mike Sherman said the pact — the first lifetime contractin club history — "not only ensures Brett will finish out hiscareer here in Green Bay, but also ensures the organization that wehave the services, the talent and the leadership of the very bestquarterback in the National Football League in the years to come."

Deal Brokered for Salary Cap Reasons

The extension reportedly will be for 10 years, making Favre theNFL's first $100 million player. His contract would top the $90million contract the Washington Redskins gave halfback StephenDavis last year.

However, Favre's contract, which includes a $10 million signingbonus, is essentially a six-year deal for salary cap purposes.

Favre said he renegotiated not because he had fallen behindother players of lesser talent but instead to help the Packerssurround him with a supporting cast to make another Super Bowl run.

"I've always said that I make great money and I meant that,"Favre said. "This was just an opportunity to enable the Packers tohave some cap room, solidify my future with the Packers and, if youwant to say not worry about it again, that's another way to look atit."

The final few years of the contract include highly inflatedsalaries that Favre will never earn. He has said he doesn't seehimself playing beyond 2006.

"Brett has been the signature player for this franchise, andone of the signature players for the entire NFL, and this contractreflects that status," team negotiator Andrew Brandt said.

Levens Takes Pay Cut

Favre holds the NFL record for consecutive starts by aquarterback at 141 games. And that's despite thumb, elbow and ankleinjuries the past two years.

He has the highest winning percentage (.645) among NFLquarterbacks with 50 or more regular-season starts, based on a91-50 career record, and his 255 TD passes are the most by aquarterback over the last nine seasons. He's also thrown for 3,000or more yards nine straight seasons, tying Dan Marino's NFL mark.

Favre was honored as MVP in 1995, '96 and '97. He guided GreenBay to two Super Bowls, a victory over New England in 1997 and aloss to Denver in '98.

Before renegotiating his contract to allow the Packers to shaveabout $4 million off his 2001 salary cap number, Favre had threeyears and $21 million left on the seven-year, $47.25 million dealhe signed in 1998.

His base salary was going to be $6.3 million next season and hissalary cap number $9.474 million.

Favre's agent, Bus Cook, and Brandt completed the contract byThursday's deadline, allowing the Packers to get below the 2001salary cap of $67.4 million.

The Packers also managed to persuade center Frank Winters andhalfback Dorsey Levens, two other key components to the team'sresurgence in the 1990s, to take significant pay cuts this week.

Ron Wolf, who is retiring as Green Bay's general manager on June1, found Favre on Atlanta's bench in 1991 and traded for him in1992.

Wolf said he regrets not giving Favre a better supporting castin recent years. Favre challenged that notion, saying the Packerswere done in by injuries and skyrocketing salaries in free agencythat stripped them of some of their Super Bowl contributors in thelate 1990s.

He complimented Wolf on his work this offseason.

"I don't see why we can't get back to where we were," Favresaid.

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