2011 NFL Trade Grades: Winners and Losers for Every Major NFL Trade
The NFL's offseason was shortened, but that doesn't mean there was a shortage of trades.
A bunch of different players were moved for large trade packages and a few teams took big risks in trying to upgrade certain positions and elevate their franchise to the next level.
This list will rate who won, who lost and why in each of the different major NFL trades.
Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Pick
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The Philadelphia Eagles made it clear they were shopping their No. 2 quarterback, Kevin Kolb, even before the lockout started. From the beginning, it seemed the Arizona Cardinals were the most interested and were the team most in need of a quarterback.
The Cardinals have been looking to replace Kurt Warner since he retired and may have found their guy.
Kolb doesn't have great numbers, 7-6 as a starting quarterback and an 11-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and the Cardinals paid a lot to get him.
I would have thought the Cardinals would have to give up a second-round pick or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, not a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but I'm not an NFL GM, as much as I'd like to be.
Kolb is unproven and overpaid but in a weak NFC West division, trading for a solid quarterback could be enough for the Cardinals to make the playoffs and from there, who knows?
The Eagles, on the other hand, got great value for their second-string, unproven quarterback and really upgraded their team with this deal.
The Eagles landed another quality corner to put with Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha and also added a second-round pick in the draft.
The only risk the Eagles took in this trade was parting ways with a very good second-string quarterback that could be a solid replacement for Michael Vick if he were to get hurt.
That isn't nearly enough to say the Eagles lost out on this deal and I see both teams leaving this trade as winners.
Winners: Both Teams
Donovan McNabb to the Minnesota Vikings for Two Sixth-Round Picks
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Sticking with the most important position in football, the Minnesota Vikings traded for Donovan McNabb and avoided throwing their rookie, Christian Ponder, to the wolves in his first NFL season.
McNabb doesn't seem to have a lot left after a terrible year in Washington, but the Vikings definitely upgraded. At least they now have a chance to develop Christian Ponder, as he is nowhere near NFL-ready.
Ponder will benefit from watching a veteran like McNabb practice and prepare for games, which makes this trade a decent move overall for the Vikings.
The Washington Redskins were lucky to even find a suitor for McNabb and even more lucky to get two sixth-round picks in return for the veteran.
I don't think there was any doubt that the Redskins would have cut McNabb if they didn't find a trade partner and getting two sixth-round picks is a ton better than nothing.
Overall, this move gives the Redskins a few picks to help them on their long, grueling rebuilding stage and gives the Vikings a small chance at competing in the toughest division in football, the NFC North.
I feel the Vikings are going to take another step back from last year and trading for a veteran quarterback only seems to delay the inevitable.
Winners: Washington Redskins
Losers: Minnesota Vikings
Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for a Thrid-Round Pick
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The Chicago Bears decided to part ways with their best offensive weapon, Greg Olsen, after a year of low production in an offense he doesn't fit into well.
The Mike Martz offense doesn't have room for pass-catching tight ends and requires the tight end to play as an extra offensive linemen.
The Bears' offensive line is especially bad, so having a blocking tight end is even more vital. The Bears must have figured Jay Cutler wouldn't survive another season if they didn't install the required blocking tight end into their offense.
Greg Olsen is a young player with a high ceiling that is going to help Carolina. He never fully reached his potential with the Bears but it wasn't totally his fault.
The Bears have always been known for their bad offenses and terrible quarterback play. Olsen was held back by Martz's system and the Bears' run-and-punt philosophy on offense.
A third-round pick isn't a terrible return for a tight end that had just an OK year last season, and most of Olsen's trade value came from his potential.
Most Bears' fans would have liked for Chicago to get more than a third-round pick in the trade, but a lot of Bears' fans also overrated Olsen's production and overall play.
I think Olsen will be a great fit in Carolina and have some of the best years of his career there.
Winner: Carolina Panthers
Loser: Chicago Bears
Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots for a Fifth and a Sixth-Round Pick
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The New England Patriots made some classic Bill Belichick moves this offseason, starting with dealing for veteran wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
Ochocinco doesn't seem like he would be a fit in the Patriot model, but we said the same thing about Randy Moss.
While I don't expect nearly the same amount of production the Patriots got from Moss, Ochocinco will help the offense and stretch the field as a receiver.
The Bengals got a decent return for a guy they needed to get rid of. The two draft picks they received, even though they're a fifth and sixth-rounders, can really help a team rebuild.
I think this is a low risk, high reward move for the Patriots and a move that needed to be done for the Bengals. Both teams came out better for it.
Winners: Both Teams
Albert Haynesworth to the New England Patriots for a Fifth-Round Pick
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Another classic Bill Belichick move, trade for another team's trash and try to turn it into treasure with a strong locker-room influence and quality team leaders.
It's a strategy that has worked many times in the past for the New England Patriots and will work again in the future.
Albert Haynesworth was once one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the league and needed a change of scenery after that whole Washington Redskins mistake.
Haynesworth can help the Patriots with their pass rush and because he will be playing a lot closer to his natural position, he should be more comfortable in their system.
If Haynesworth wants to continue playing in the NFL, he will have to be on his best behavior in New England because if the Patriots can't handle him, no team can.
It was good for the Redskins of the cancer that was Albert Haynesworth, and I don't think their fans could be happier with the trade.
Winners: Both Teams