NFL Trades: Power Ranking the 20 Worst Trades in NFC History
Wait, they traded who? Why would they do that? That's a horrible deal.
We have all screamed out one of, if not all three of those phrases when our hometown NFL team makes an awful deal here and there. At least one of those trades seem to happen every year, where one team gets a great deal and the other is left with next to nothing.
With any trade, comes a risk for both parties involved. But when that trade goes south and your team turns up on the wrong end, they always seem to linger and never truly go away.
Some of the most mind-boggling trades of all time involve shipping away players that turn out to be true NFL superstars. We have all seen it happen before, and we have to believe that it will happen again.
With that said, let's take a look at some of these awful trades and break down the 20 worst trades in NFC history.
20. Browns Deal Paul Warfield
Back in 1970, the Cleveland Browns made the mistake of trading wide receiver Paul Warfield to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a first-round pick in that year's NFL Draft.
The Browns used that pick to select former Purdue quarterback Michael Phipps, while Warfield went on to have a successful NFL career. The speedy wideout had four straight seasons with Miami where he recorded 28 or more catches and over 600 yards in all of them.
In 1971, Warfield caught 43 passes for right under 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.
19. Saints Ship out Willie Roaf
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There weren't many offensive tackles in the 1990s that were as dominant as Willie Roaf.
The former first-round pick out of Louisiana Tech started all 16 games in his rookie season and went on to make seven straight Pro Bowls with New Orleans. But then, in a sudden move, the Saints made the choice to trade Roaf to the Kansas City Chiefs for a fourth-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.
For a guy who was considered by many to be the best tackle in the game during that time period, you would think he would be worth more than a fourth-round draft pick.
18. Detroit Trades Roy Williams to Dallas
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Midway through the 2008 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys traded a first-round pick in 2009, plus a third and sixth-rounder that year for wide receiver Roy Williams.
Williams played his college ball in Texas and it was clear that he wanted out of Detroit. So naturally, everyone felt like this trade was a perfect fit. That did not end up being the case.
In three years with Dallas, Williams has yet to have a season where he totaled 40 catches or top the 600-yard receiving mark. His season high for touchdowns in Dallas is seven in 2009. Meanwhile, the former Lion wideout topped 600 yards in every year he played for Detroit, including back-to-back seasons where he had eight touchdown grabs.
17. Atlanta Falcons Deal for Tony Gonzalez
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Just two years ago, the Atlanta Falcons lucked out in a trade that has left people in Kansas City puzzled still to this day.
The Chiefs traded tight end Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons in exchange for a second-round draft pick in 2010. Gonzalez is arguably the best tight end in NFL history and is the only player at that position to be selected to 10 Pro Bowls in his NFL career.
A few people believed that Gonzalez was getting old and his production was going down. But in Atlanta, Gonzalez has caught 70+ passes and six touchdowns in each of the past two seasons.
Looks like he's still got a whole lot left in the tank.
16. Tampa Bay Trades for Jack Thompson
This is going way back in time, but truth is, it still stings in the minds of Buccaneers fans.
After a 2-14 season in 1983, the Bucs agreed to deal their first-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in return for QB Jack Thompson. The team was looking for the replacement for Doug Williams and felt like Thompson was their guy.
It turned out that Thompson started the final 13 games of the 1983 season and the first three of the 1984 campaign before being replaced by Steve DeBerg. He was then released at the end of the 1984 season and never played in the NFL again.
That is one that Bucs fans would love to forget.
15. Miami Brings in Daunte Culpepper from Minnesota
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Back in 2006, the Miami Dolphins had a decision to make on whether they were going to go after Daunte Culpepper or Drew Brees. In the end, the Dolphins went with Culpepper.
The Dolphins didn't want to wait for Brees to lower his contract demands and made the decision to give the Vikings a second-round choice to acquire Culpepper.
Brees went on to sign a six-year deal with the Saints and led them to a 2010 Super Bowl title. Just five years later, Brees is considered to be one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL today.
Culpepper, on the other hand, spent one injury-riddled season in Miami, where he passed for two touchdowns compared to three interceptions and was out of town the following year.
14. Peyton Hillis Traded to Cleveland
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Close to a year ago to this day, the Denver Broncos traded running back Peyton Hillis to the Cleveland Browns in return for quarterback Brady Quinn. McDaniel's thought here was that the team just got rid of Jay Cutler the year before, and Quinn would be able to compete with Kyle Orton for the Denver starting quarterback job.
As is turned out, Brady Quinn has been a huge flop in the NFL and is probably on his last string as an NFL quarterback.
Hillis, on the other hand, had one of the most productive seasons this past year of any NFL running back. The former seventh-round draft pick rushed for 1,177 and 11 touchdowns in 14 starts for Cleveland this past season.
13. Washington Redskins Acquire Clinton Portis from Denver
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At the time, the deal made a whole lot of sense. Clinton Portis was one of the best, young running backs in the game, and the Redskins were looking for an offensive player with game-changing talent.
So with that said, at the conclusion of the 2003 NFL season, the Washington Redskins traded cornerback Champ Bailey and a second-round pick to the Denver Broncos for tailback Clinton Portis.
It's fair to say that this deal did not work out so well for Washington.
Bailey is still considered to be one of the top shutdown corners in the league today and has excelled in his time in Denver. Portis, on the other hand, has been battling constant injuries since the trade, and it was just announced that he will be released by the Redskins this offseason.
12. The Jerome Bettis Trade
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Jerome Bettis, better known as "The Bus," got shipped off to Pittsburgh in one of the most lopsided draft day trades in NFL history.
The Steelers traded a second-round pick in 1996 and a fourth-rounder in ’97 for Bettis and a third-round pick. All that Bettis did with the Steelers is go on to win a Super Bowl and cement his name as one of the top running backs in the '90s and early 2000s.
As if St. Louis Rams fans aren't bitter enough about their football team—this one had to hurt.
11. Donovan McNabb Moves from Philadelphia to Washington
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It's starting to look more and more like this trade will go down as one of the worst deals in NFL history.
Just this past year, the Philadelphia Eagles traded McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a second and third-round draft pick. It started off to look like the Redskins would get the best of this deal, but it certainly didn't end that way.
McNabb ended the 2010 season on the bench, not playing in the team's final three games. Washington coach Mike Shanahan has made it clear that if it's up to him, McNabb will not be back with the Redskins in 2011.
10. Giants Get Eli Manning on Draft Day Trade
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It's not that Eli Manning is a bad NFL quarterback. In fact, he's actually a pretty solid gun-slinger with pretty respectable career numbers. But in the 2004 NFL Draft, the Giants made the decision to trade their pick to San Diego in exchange for Eli Manning, thus letting Phillip Rivers fall to the Chargers.
Seven years later, Manning has put up solid numbers, but Rivers has developed into an elite NFL quarterback.
Eli Manning does have a Super Bowl ring to his resume, which is a huge plus. But the fact here is that Manning complained about not wanting to play for San Diego, then despite his whining, he got his wish, but Rivers turned out to be the better pro.
9. Giants and Cowboys Swap Craig Morton for Randy White
The New York Giants were on the market for a quarterback in the 1975 season, so they went the route of trading for Dallas backup, Craig Morton. In return, they sent the No. 2 pick of the draft to Dallas, where the Cowboys selected Randy White.
That year, Morton led the Giants to just one win, while White went on to be a stud defensive linemen with the Cowboys. He was a co-MVP of Super Bowl XII and is currently a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Morton lasted just three total seasons with the Giants before basically getting booed out of town.
8. Dallas Scoops Up Tony Dorsett from Seattle
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This has to go down as one of the most one-sidded deals in NFL history.
Back in 1977, the Seahawks traded their first-round pick to Dallas for the No. 14 overall pick and three second-round picks. The Cowboys picked up former Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett with that pick and it ended up being one of the most memorable trades in their franchise history.
Dorsett ran for more than 1,000 yards in eight of his first nine seasons and won two Super Bowls in Dallas. When he retired, Dorsett was the second-leading rusher in NFL history behind Walter Payton.
Think that Seattle might want to have a redo on this one?
7. Atlanta Falcons Trade Up for Michael Vick
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At the time, this looked like it was going to be a good deal. But the aftermath led to a completely different story.
The Falcons and Chargers made a deal in 2001 that would result in Atlanta trading their first-round pick, third-round pick, their second-round pick in 2002,and wide receiver Tim Dwight to acquire the No. 1 pick in that year's draft. That pick turned out to be former Virginia Tech standout Michael Vick.
Vick quickly developed into one of the most exciting players in the league, but the "good-life" would not last for long in Atlanta.
Vick made some bad off-field decisions, which led to him being out of the league and instead, in prison for running an illegal dog fighting ring. This cost the Falcons organization an entire overhaul, forcing them to rebuild all over again for the future.
6. Arizona Trades 1998 Draft Pick to San Diego
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It's a debate that has been and will continue to go on for years to come. But when it comes to arguing over who is the biggest NFL draft bust of all time, Ryan Leaf will always find his name amongst the leaders of this list.
Back in 1998, the Arizona Cardinals traded the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft to the San Diego Chargers for the No. 3 pick, a first-round pick in 1999, a second-round pick, linebacker Patrick Sapp and Eric Metcalf.
With that No. 2 pick, the Chargers went with Ryan Leaf, who turned out to the one of the biggest flops in NFL history.
The Cardinals ended up drafting Andre Wadsworth, Corey Chavous and David Boston with the picks. Boston turned out to be solid, the other two were pretty average, but none of the three were anywhere near as bad as the human headache that was Ryan Leaf.
5. St. Louis Adds Marshall Faulk
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Marshall Faulk had a standout first half to his NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts.
But the Colts and Faulk had some undisclosed issues in Indianapolis and the team decided to move on without him. In 1999, the Colts sent Faulk to St. Louis in exchange for second and fifth-round picks in the upcoming draft.
Faulk went on and continued his brilliant career in St. Louis. He formed what was well known as the "Greatest Show On Turf."
The Rams reached two Super Bowls with Marshall Faulk in the backfield, winning one in the 1999 NFL season.
4. Tampa Bay Ships Steve Young to San Francisco
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Most people aren't aware of how Steve Young came into the NFL.
Young actually began his career in the USFL before being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1985 Supplemental Draft.
He didn't start off great in his career, and in return, he was traded to San Francisco in 1987 for a second and fourth-round pick.
After serving as Joe Montana's backup when he first got there, Young soon took over the 49ers quarterback job and developed into one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. He won multiple passing titles, was a Super Bowl MVP and is a member of the Football Hall of Fame.
3. Saints Trade It All for Ricky Williams
To say that Mike Ditka wanted Ricky Williams on the Saints roster might be a huge understatement.
In 1999, the Saints traded eight picks for the right to select Texas tailback Ricky Williams, which ended up being a pretty questionable deal.
Williams ended up having a solid career in New Orleans, but it only lasted three years. He was traded away to Miami in 2003, where he still is today.
To trade eight draft picks, including the second overall pick in 2000, for one player who lasted three years with that team...it just doesn't sound right.
2. Brett Favre Traded to Green Bay
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This is a prime example of a "what are they thinking" moment for the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons drafted Brett Favre in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft. He only appeared in two games that season and threw a total of four passes, two of which were interceptions.
After that, the Falcons didn't think much of the young kid and decided to move on. They traded Favre to the Packers for a first-round pick in the 1992 draft, which the Falcons used to select running back Tony Smith.
Smith was out of the league in three seasons, while Favre went on to have arguably the greatest quarterback career in the history of the NFL. He currently holds NFL records for most pass completions and most passing yards in a career.
1. Herschel Walker Ends Up in Minnesota
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Before we go through this trade, keep in mind that this actually happened and there is nothing but 100 percent truth to this.
In 1989, the Minnesota Vikings traded five players and six draft picks, all to get Herschel Walker away from the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys used that trade in order to add running back Emmitt Smith (first round 1990), wide receiver Alexander Wright (second round 1990), defensive tackle Russell Maryland (first round 1991), wide receiver Alvin Harper (first round 1991), linebacker Dixon Edwards (second round 1991), linebacker Robert Jones (first round 1992), cornerback Kevin Smith (first round 1992) and safety Darren Woodson (second round 1992).
Those eight players became the core of a Cowboys dynasty that won three Super Bowls in the mid-1990s. This was hands down, the most one-sided trade in NFL history.