NFL: Last Decade's 10 Biggest Trades

Josh McCainSenior Writer IMay 24, 2011

NFL: Last Decade's 10 Biggest Trades

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    Unlike the other three major American sports, the NFL doesn't see too many blockbuster trades.

    In fact, most NFL trades mostly involve draft picks rather than players.

    However, franchising-changing trades do happen periodically in the NFL.

    Here is a list of the top 10 NFL trades from the last decade.

2011: Redskins Go Against Norm, Acquire More Draft Picks

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    This wasn't just one trade during the three nights of the 2011 Draft. The Redskins made several trades, going from seven to 12 picks.

    This is significant because the Redskins have forever been a team that trades away an entire draft to move up in the first round or to acquire veteran players.

    GM Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan are attempting to change the culture in D.C., and in their second year, it looked like they told owner Dan Snyder to stay out of the war room.

    The Redskins taking a page out of the Patriots' book is a good sign for the NFC East, at least from a fans' point of view because it will make it more competitive.

2009: Matt Cassel Traded to Kansas City Chiefs

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    After leading the New England Patriots to a 10-6 season and filling in for the injured Tom Brady, Cassel became a very sought after quarterback.

    Rumors of new head coach Josh McDaniels interest in his former team's QB caused Jay Cutler to demand a trade out of Denver (more on that later) and doomed McDaniels' first ever head coaching gig.

    Unfortunately for McDaniels, the Chiefs, his AFC West rivals, were the the ones who got Cassel from New England for a second-round pick in the 2009 Draft.

2010: McNabb to Redskins

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    Washington, D.C., was abuzz with excitement late Easter Sunday when it was announced the Redskins had traded for Donovan McNabb. The trade sent a 2010 second-round pick and a conditional 2011 pick (which ended up being a fourth rounder) to the Eagles.

    The combination of Shanahan and McNabb had the nation's capital talking NFC East Championship and even sparked delusions of the pair holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Dallas.

    It was not meant to be, though. After one season and only 13 starts, it appears McNabb will once again be traded.

2010: Randy Moss to Vikings for Third-Round Pick

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    The nightmare that ended their season in 2009 continued into 2010 for the Minnesota Vikings.

    After a terrible start, the Vikings hit the panic button and traded away a third-round pick in the 2011 Draft and seventh-round pick in the 2012 Draft to the New England Patriots for disgruntled wideout Randy Moss.

    Moss only lasted four weeks in the place where his NFL career began a decade earlier. 

    He was placed on waivers and picked up by the Tennessee Titans.

    The 2010 season is one Moss and the Vikings would like to forget.

2009: Mark Sanchez

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    After the Favre experiment failed in New York (more on that in a minute), the New York Jets and freshman head coach Rex Ryan went all-in in order to acquire Mark Sanchez from USC.

    The Jets sent their 2009 first- and second-round picks, DE Kenyon Coleman, QB Brett Ratliff and S Abram Elam to Cleveland for the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 Draft.

    The Jets wagered a lot to draft a quarterback who only started one season in college.

    The results for the Jets are hard to see as it's been their defense that has led to their success.  Sanchez has played well, but I just don't know if he's shown that he's been worth what the Jets gave up.

2004: Portis for Bailey

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    At the conclusion of the 2003 season, it was clear Champ Bailey wasn't going to re-sign with the Washington Redskins when his contract was up a year later.

    The Redskins were in need of a running back, so they worked out a trade with the Denver Broncos that sent breakout RB Clinton Portis to Washington for Bailey as well as a second-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

    Had this trade been player for player, it would have been pretty even because both Bailey and Portis can probably account for a couple of their teams' wins over the past seven seasons.

    But the Redskins were in a bit of a panic mode to move Bailey and sent a pretty high pick to go along with the best corner in the past decade in the NFL for a running back.

    Even though neither player made it to the Super Bowl with their new teams, the Broncos won on that deal because they acquired that second-round pick.

2008: Favre to Jets

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    In 2008, the unthinkable happened.

    The Green Bay Packers traded Favre.

    Of course, this was after he retired, then unretired, and the Packers basically told him: "Hey, we're moving on. We've got Rodgers waiting in the wings, and he's ready to start."

    The Jets seemed to have made the deal of the century and got Favre for a measly fourth-round pick in 2008.

    The Jets started the year on fire, but they finished 8-8, which caused Eric Mangini to be replaced with Ryan and Favre to retire and unretire again, causing him to be released and replaced with Sanchez.

    2008 was a wash for the Jets, but the experiment has led to more prosperous times for the franchise.

2009: Jay Cutler Wants out of Denver

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    In 2009, after new head coach McDaniels flirted with his former team to try and trade for Cassel, Denver's current quarterback Cutler felt disrespected and demanded a trade.

    There were many teams rumored to be in the running. In fact, on the day of the trade, ESPN called the Redskins' beat reporter for ESPN 980 in D.C. to get reaction to Cutler going to Washington.

    Then, at the last minute, the Bears came through with a deal the Broncos couldn't refuse.

    For Cutler, the Bears sent Denver Kyle Orton, a first- and third-round picks in the 2009 NFL Draft, as well as a first-round pick in 2010.

    It appeared the Broncos made out like bandits, especially after the solid numbers Orton put up in 2009.

    However, the Broncos didn't have a winning season in 2009 or 2010, and McDaniels was fired while Orton was replaced with fan-favorite—but shaky—QB Tim Tebow.

    As for the Bears, 2009 wasn't stellar either, but in 2010, Cutler—in spite of being the most sacked QB in the league—led the Bears to the NFC Championship game.

    Perhaps the Bears knew exactly what they were doing.

2001: Chargers, Falcons Swap Spots

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    In 2001, the Atlanta Falcons knew they wanted Michael Vick, but they had to find a way to move up to get him.

    The Chargers, who had recently been burned by drafting QB Ryan Leaf three years before, were a bit gun shy about taking a QB that high in the draft.

    The Falcons offered their No. 5 overall pick, their third-round pick in 2001 and their second-round pick in 2002, as well as WR Tim Dwight.

    The Chargers said, "Thank you very much," and they traded away the right to draft Vick.

    Meanwhile, the Chargers grabbed LaDainian Tomlinson with the No. 5 overall pick and snagged Drew Brees in the second round.

No. 1 Spot Goes To...

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    In 2004, Eli Manning made it painfully clear he would not play for the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers apparently didn't hear him and took him with the No. 1 overall pick anyways.

    Meanwhile, the New York Giants—the team Manning wanted to be drafted by—took Phillip Rivers with the No. 4 overall pick.

    Eli, his father Archie and his agent persisted that Eli would not play for the Chargers and demanded a trade.

    The Chargers found a very willing partner in the New York Giants, who traded them Rivers, their first-round pick for 2005—which became Shawn Merriman—and their third-round pick in the 2004 draft.

    Even though the Giants won a Super Bowl with Manning, I consider this trade to be pretty even.  For the most part, the Giants won because of their defense, and even though Manning did make some plays against the Patriots, I dare say that had Rivers been at QB for them, the results wouldn't be any different.