NFL Trade History: 9 Worst Trades of the 2000s
Trades in the NFL are a dangerous business, whether it be for picks, players or some combination of the two. There is no telling how well a player will adjust to a new team, or how well he will perform once he has been sent to another team.
It is up to the luck of the draw as to whether a trade will work out for either team involved.
In retrospect, a lot of these deals look a lot worst than they initially appeared. With the 2000s in the rear-view mirror, it is safe to look back and see which trades hurt the most. Here are some of the NFL's worst trades of the last decade.
2000: Dallas Trades with Seattle for Joey Galloway
Joey Galloway was a great receiver with the Seahawks and Buccaneers. In between, he was an average receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, who traded their first round picks in both the 2000 and 2001 drafts for Galloway.
Galloway played in just one game in 2000 before he tore his ACL in his left knee, ending his season with four catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
Galloway rebounded with three solid seasons for the Cowboys, but nothing close to the value of two first round picks. After Raghib Ismail failed to repeat the success of his 2000 season, Galloway was left to shoulder much of the receiving load. He caught 151 passes for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns with Dallas before being traded in 2004 to Tampa Bay for Keyshawn Johnson.
In five years with the Buccaneers, Galloway caught 248 passes for 3,912 yards and 28 touchdowns.
The Seahawks used the picks to running back Shaun Alexander, who would go on to win NFL MVP in 2005 and lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance, and Koren Robinson one great year, one good year and three disappointing years with Seattle.
2002: Miami Trades with New Orleans for Ricky Williams
The Miami Dolphins gave up four draft picks, including a first-round pick in 2002, to the New Orleans Saints for running back Ricky Williams. Williams rushed for over 3,100 yards in his first two seasons with the Dolphins, but failed three drug tests and retired from football in 2004.
He returned partway through the 2005 season, but failed a fourth drug test in 2006 and was suspended for the 2006 season.
Williams returned to the NFL once again after a stint in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts. He adhered to a strict drug testing regimen en route to full reinstatement for the 2007 season. He appeared in one game and carried the ball six times for 15 yards before tearing his pectoral muscle and landing on injured reserved.
The Saints didn't make much out of the four picks they received in the deal, but they also didn't have to deal with Williams's psychological issues for the past eight seasons. Meanwhile, the Saints have appeared in six playoff games and won a Super Bowl, while the Dolphins have one playoff appearance and a 1-15 record from 2007 to show for it all..
2002: New Orleans Trades Willie Roaf to Kansas City
It is never smart to trade one of the best offensive tackles in the game, let alone for a conditional fourth-round pick, but the Saints are guilty of just that. New Orleans traded Willie Roaf to the Kansas City Chiefs for a conditional draft pick
Granted, Roaf had suffered a season-ending injury in 2001, but the Chiefs made out like thieves in giving up no higher than a third round pick for a great left tackle.
Roaf went on to make four straight Pro Bowls with the Chiefs to close out his career. With the Chiefs he helped pave the way for Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson to the tune of 6,794 yards and 98 touchdowns as part of the Chiefs offensive line.
The Saints traded the pick, which became a a third round pick based on Roaf's play in 2002, to the Patriots for Tebucky Jones. The Patriots traded the pick to Miami for a future draft pick and the Dolphins ultimately selected offensive tackle Wade Smith. New Orleans traded Roaf for what amounted to nothing in the end.
2004: Washington Trades Champ Bailey to Denver for Clinton Portis
Champ Bailey was unhappy with his situation with the Redskins as he desired a long-term contract rather than a franchise tag. The Redskins traded him with a second-round pick to the Broncos for running back Clinton Portis.
Portis is looking for work after the Redskins released him earlier this year, and Bailey is looking for the last contract of his illustrious career.
Portis had some good years with Washington, and finished his career just 648 yards shy of John Riggins's franchise rushing record. In seven years with the Redskins, Portis rushed for 6,824 yards and 46 touchdowns, but missed 28 games in his career and 19 in his last two seasons. Bailey missed a total of 11 games with the Broncos while making the Pro Bowl in all but one of his seven seasons.
The trade made sense at the time, but giving up a shutdown corner and a second-round pick for one of the most mercurial commodities in football is a bad move. Bailey is destined for the Hall of Fame, while Portis will struggle to make the conversation when his career is finished.
2005: Houston Trades with Oakland for Phillip Buchanon
Phillip Buchanon looked like he might be worth the second and fourth round picks the Texans gave up in their trade with the Raiders. With Dunta Robinson having a great rookie campaign it made sense to bring in another quality corner.
However, Buchanon started just six games in two seasons with Houston before being released in October 2006.
Buchanon became known as a ball hawk with the Raiders, tallying 11 interceptions in his first three seasons, but was quickly exposed as a boom or bust corner with questionable cover skills. Even as part of a relatively new franchise still trying to establish itself, Buchanon brought absolutely nothing to the Texans defense.
The Raiders didn't turn the picks into much of anything, since they traded Kirk Morrison last season. But the Texans would like to have their 2005 draft back, if only just to avoid the disappointment Buchanon brought.
2006: Miami Trades with Minnesota for Daunte Culpepper
The 2006 offseason feature two big names at quarterback. Daunte Culpepper was still a member of the Minnesota Vikings and would have to be brought in via trade. Drew Brees was a free agent with a hefty price tag and was coming off of a serious shoulder injury. The Dolphins were unwilling to meet Brees's contract demands and team doctors dissuaded them from the deal altogether.
The Dolphins traded a second round pick to Minnesota for the recovering Culpepper.
I say 'recovering Culpepper' because he had torn his ACL, MCL and PCL in 2005 to finish the season in injured reserve. Culpepper played just four games with the Dolphins, throwing for 929 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions before he was released after the 2006 season. He went on to play with the Oakland Raiders in 2007 and the Lions in 2008 and 2009 before retiring from the NFL.
He is currently playing for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL.
For comparison's sake, Brees has thrown for roughly 23,000 yards with the New Orleans Saints alone. Daunte Culpepper finished his 11-year NFL career with 24,153 passing yards.
2007: Miami Trades Wes Welker to New England
Wes Welker has caught 432 passes for 4,536 yards and 22 touchdowns in four years with the New England Patriots. He has established himself as one of the best slot receivers in the NFL in that time, while his former team as struggled to remain competitive.
The Dolphins didn't have the best receiving talent at the time and moving Welker seemed like the reasonable thing to do.
It isn't so much that the Dolphins gave up a great player, but what they got in return considering what Welker has done for New England. The deal gave Miami New England's second and seventh round picks in the 2007 draft. With those picks, the Dolphins selected center Samson Satele, who was traded to the Raiders in 2009, and Abraham Wright who never played a down for the team.
The Miami Dolphins have had a history of getting hosed in trades, even if only in retrospect. Expect to see their names several times on this list.
2008: Dallas Trades with Detroit for Roy Williams
Partway through the 2008 season, the Dallas Cowboys traded their first, third, and sixth round picks in the 2009 draft to the Detroit Lions of receiver Roy Williams. While Williams was supposed to be the perfect complement to Terrell Owens, but managed just 19 receptions and one touchdown in 10 games with the Cowboys in 2008.
Williams was free to blossom in Dallas when Owens left before the 2009 season, but was quickly overshadowed by Miles Austin.
In 2009, Williams played 15 games but caught just 38 passes for 596 yards. He made up for his mediocre numbers with seven touchdowns, but fell well short of his worst season with the Detroit Lions. Between 2009 and 2010, Austin has caught 150 passes for 2,361 yards and 18 touchdowns. Williams has caught just 75 passes for 1,126 yards and 12 touchdowns.
In his best season, Williams caught 82 passes for 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns with the Lions.
For comparison, former Cowboy Patrick Crayton caught 76 passes for 1,172 yards and nine touchdowns between 2008 and 2009. Crayton was the third receiver on the team for most of that time.
2008: New York Jets Trade with Green Bay for Brett Favre
Brett Favre is bound for the Hall of Fame sometime within the next decade depending on when he decides to actually retire for more than a month.
The Green Bay Packers were tired of waiting for his decision to play or stay home, and decided to move forward with Aaron Rodgers. The Packers were smart and traded him to the Jets for a conditional fourth-round pick.
Favre lasted all of one season with the Jets, and failed to take the team to the playoffs despite high hopes.
The Packers finished 6-10 in 2008 while the Jets finished 9-7, but short of the playoffs. Favre finished the season with 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions and threw for 3,472 yards, which was the lowest total of his career since 2003, when he threw for 3,361 yards.
He was released following the disappointing season, and was presumably headed for another retirement.
Two years later, the Packers have won a Super Bowl, while the Jets have fallen short in each of the last two seasons. After one memorable season with the Vikings and another to forget, Favre has retired again.
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