NFL: 10 Best Value Trades in History

Josh McCainSenior Writer IMay 31, 2011

NFL: 10 Best Value Trades in History

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    14 Dec 1998: Steve Young #8 of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by Darrius Holland #73 of the Detroit Lions at 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. The 49ers defeated the Lions 35-13. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Trade value is in the eye of the beholder.

    Teams sometimes trade away very little to obtain a future Hall of Famer.

    Teams sometimes trade very little to obtain several future Hall of Famers.

    Other trades might not yield great players, but they could allow a team to horde draft picks in order to improve the depth of their roster.

    Here is a list of the 10 best value trades in NFL history.

Sonny Jurgensen Traded to the Redskins

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    TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 25: The helmet of a Washington Redskins player rests on the field during warm ups against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium on November 25, 2007 in Tampa, Florida.  The Bucs won 19-13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Ge
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    On April 1, 1964, the Washington Redskins traded for their first franchise quarterback since "Slingin'" Sammy Baugh.

    Sonny Jurgensen was acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for quarterback Norm Snead and cornerback Claude Crabb.

    Jurgensen, along with Billy Kilmer, would help lead the Redskins out of the basement and make the franchise respectable again.

McNabb Follows in Jurgensen’s Footsteps...Sort of

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    ASHURN, VA - APRIL 6:  Mike Shanahan, head coach of the Washington Redskins presents Donovan McNabb with his new jersey during a press conference on April 6, 2010 at Redskin Park in Ashburn, Virginia.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    On Easter Sunday 2010, the Washington Redskins and their fans seemed to have been given a huge treat from the Easter Bunny—Donovan McNabb.

    The price was a measly second-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and a conditional pick (ended up being a fourth rounder) in 2011.

    However, that treat turned into a rotten egg as McNabb seemed to struggle with Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s offense and was benched with three games left to go in the 2010 season.

Al Davis Unloads Randy Moss for Peanuts

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    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 12: Randy Moss #81 of the New England Patriots enters the field before the NFL season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Al Davis made a splash in 2005 by signing free agent Randy Moss. Unfortunately for Davis, Moss didn’t play any other position outside of wide receiver.

    Moss, a notorious headache in the locker room, was shipped out to the New England Patriots in 2007 for only a fourth-round pick.

    Moss behaved himself for the most part and helped the Pats finish 16-0 in the 2007 regular season. The Pats unfortunately lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, falling one game short of being the first ever 19-0 team.

    In 2010, the disgruntled Moss reared his ugly head and was shipped back to Minnesota for a third-round pick.

    The Pats once again got great value in a trade. They received Moss for a fourth rounder, got a lot out of him (including a record-setting 2007 season) and then traded him for a third-round pick three yeas later.

Seattle Trades Away Right to Draft Tony Dorsett

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    ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 4:  Running back Tony Dorsett #33 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes for yards during a 1985 NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim Stadium on January 4, 1996 in Anaheim, California.  The Rams won 20-0.  (Photo
    George Rose/Getty Images

    After the 1976 season, the Dallas Cowboys were dead set on drafting Heisman-winning RB Tony Dorsett.

    They were able to make a deal with the Seahawks by swapping first-round picks and sending three second-round picks to Seattle.

Mike Ditka Mortgages Saints' Future for Ricky Williams

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    17 Apr 1999: The fifth draft pick Ricky Williams holds his new New Orleans Saints jersey during the NFL Draft at the Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    After Dan Snyder bought the Washington Redskins, he was dead set on doing things his way, and he wanted general manager Charlie Casserly out.

    Luckily for Snyder (and Redskins’ fans), Casserly made one last deal.

    Then-Saints' head coach Mike Ditka was convinced Ricky Williams would help lead him back to the Super Bowl, and Casserly took advantage of that.

    The Saints sent the Redskins all of their 1999 selections, as well as their 2000 first- and third-round picks.

    A couple of those picks ended up being Champ Bailey and LaVar Arrington, but the Skins didn’t really get much out of the rest.

49ers Say Future Is Now with Jerry Rice

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    28 Jan 1990:  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana (right) and wide receiver Jerry Rice celebrate during Super Bowl XXIV against the Denver Broncos at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The 49ers won the game, 55-10. Mandatory Credit: Rick S
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    As the 1985 NFL Draft loomed, 49ers head coach Bill Walsh fell in love with wide receiver Jerry Rice—so much that he traded his first- and second-round picks for the No. 16 overall pick from the New England Patriots (both teams also swapped third-round picks).

Faulk Goes from Indy to St. Louis

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    INDIANAPOLIS - OCTOBER 17:  Marshall Faulk #28 of the St. Louis Rams runs with the ball as he is tackled by Cato June #59 of the Indianapolis Colts on October 17, 2005 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts defeated the Rams 45-28.  (Photo by
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    After the 1998-99 season, the St. Louis Rams felt they were on the cusp of a championship.

    They made some daring moves, like signing free agent quarterback Trent Green, but their most valuable might have been trading a second- and fourth-round pick in the '99 draft for Colts’ running back Marshal Faulk.

    Of all the trades on this list, this one paid off the quickest, as Faulk was a key member of the “Greatest Show on Turf.” St. Louis won the Super Bowl in his first season.

Tampa Bay Trades Away Steve Young

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    5 Oct 1986:  Quarterback Steve Young of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks to pass the ball during a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Rams won the game, 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Allsport
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    It’s hard to believe a team would trade away Steve Young, but at the same time, it’s hard to imagine Young would have posted a 3-16 record for that same team.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would then draft Vinny Testaverde in the 1987 NFL Draft and trade Young to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for second- and fourth-round picks.

    Young had to wait a few years before taking over for Joe Montana, but when he did, he made the most of it by winning a Super Bowl and later being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Packers Gamble on Brett Favre

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    26 Jan 1997:  Quarterback Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with teammate tight end Jeff Thomason during Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Packers won the game, 35-21. Mandatory
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Brett Favre wasn’t like by Atlanta Falcons’ head coach Jerry Glanville, but he was loved by Green Bay Packers’ general manager Ron Wolf, who traded the No. 19 overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft for Favre.

    Wolf said his career would sink or swim with Favre.

    Giving up a first-round pick is usually a daring thing, but when it nabs you a franchise quarterback and first ballot hall of famer, it becomes a great move.

Herschel Walker to Vikings and Three Super Bowl Championships to Cowboys

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    12 Nov 1989:  Running back Herschel Walker of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  The Vikings won the game 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran  /Allsport
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    This trade is simply known as "The Trade," as the Vikings thought they were just one player away from finally winning a Super Bowl, and new Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson knew his Cowboys were many players away from being championship contenders.

    So, Jimmy decided to trade away his best player in hopes of acquiring a lot of young talent in the process.

    A lot of players went to a lot of places because of this trade, but it is most remembered for helping the Cowboys draft future hall of famer Emmit Smith.

    The end result was that the Cowboys would win three Super Bowls in the '90s, and the Vikings would take a while to recover from the deal.

    In case you're wondering what it took to make all this happen, here is the list below.


    Dallas Cowboys received

    LB Jesse Solomon

    LB David Howard

    CB Issiac Holt

    RB Darrin Nelson (traded to San Diego after he refused to report to Dallas)

    DE Alex Stewart

    Minnesota's first-round pick in 1990 (traded this pick along with pick (81) for pick (17) from Pittsburgh to draft Emmitt Smith)

    Minnesota's second-round pick in 1990 (Alexander Wright)

    Minnesota's sixth-round pick in 1990 (traded to New Orleans, who drafted James Williams)

    Minnesota's first-round pick in 1991 (Alvin Harper)

    Minnesota's second-round pick in 1991 (Dixon Edwards)

    Minnesota's second-round pick in 1992 (Darren Woodson)

    Minnesota's third-round pick in 1992  (traded to New England, who drafted Kevin Turner)

    Minnesota's first-round pick in 1993 (traded to Philadelphia and then to Houston, who drafted Brad Hopkins)


    Minnesota Vikings received

    RB Herschel Walker

    Dallas's third-round pick - 1990 (Mike Jones)

    San Diego's fifth-round pick - 1990 (Reggie Thornton)

    Dallas's 10th-round pick - 1990 (Pat Newman)

    Dallas's third-round pick - 1991 (Jake Reed)