Whether it's because of analytics or teams becoming more comfortable with these types of midseason moves, trades are seemingly at an all-time high in the NFL. Jimmy Garropolo is now in San Francisco, Jay Ajayi has impressed for the Eagles, and the Colts are still holding onto their veterans for some reason.
Today, we're going to look at some of the most one-sided trades in recent NFL history. Because there are many one-sided NFL trades involving a player being dealt for draft picks, we'll be grading these moves based on what the immediate impact was for both teams and how those draft picks worked. For example, the Los Angeles Rams may be doing well with Jared Goff as their quarterback, but that doesn't mean they're clear of the Sam Bradford-Nick Foles swap.
Also, teams trading down in the NFL Draft and therefore missing a player (i.e. the New York Jets and seemingly everyone) do not count. For example, the infamous Washington Redskins-St. Louis Rams that saw Robert Griffin III end up in our nation's capital would not be eligible, but the Chicago Bears trading tight end Martellus Bennett to the New England Patriots for a draft pick would (although it's not on this list).
If you're ready to take a look back at some of the worst NFL trades that not even Madden could think of doing, let's get to work.
15 Cardinals Send Rodgers-Cromartie To Philly For Kevin Kolb
The trade: Arizona Cardinals trade cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick (later traded to Green Bay for a pick that became defensive end Vinny Curry) to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb.
The winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Why? While Cromartie was never the elite corner he showed flashes of being in Arizona - or became in Denver and New York after his 2013 release from Philadelphia - that doesn't mean DRC was an abysmal player in the City of Brotherly Love. Like teammate Nnamdi Asomgua, Cromartie struggled in the new environment and the lofty expectations that came with the "Dream Team" title Vince Young bestowed upon them, but at least DRC stayed on the field and made plays.
Kevin Kolb, while we're not going to blame him for various concussions, struggled while healthy and was out of the desert by 2013. I think it's safe to say Philadelphia, if only for those reasons, won this trade.
14 Vikings make a needed (but detrimental) quarterback trade
The trade: Minnesota trades a 2017 first-round (Derek Barnett) and 2018 fourth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford
The winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Why? Hold your horses before going crazy on me and at least hear me out: had the Vikings not finished 3-8 last season and Bradford not gotten hurt yet again this season, there is no way we'd see the former No. 1 overall pick on this list. At the same time, I'm not going to fault the Vikings - who entered the 2016 season with legitimate Super Bowl chances - for going out and trading for Bradford, who was available and wasn't going to play with Carson Wentz around.
However, Bradford was slightly above average last year and has been limited by injuries this year, while the Eagles look like Super Bowl contenders with Wentz as the starter. Not bad, Howie Roseman!
13 Jets take off after dealing Darrelle Revis To Tampa
The trade: New York Jets trade cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 2013 first-round pick (Sheldon Richardson) and a 2014 fourth-rounder (Jalen Saunders)
The winner: New York Jets
Why? Things may not have worked out in the longterm for Richardson or Saunders in New York, but the former did win 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year and put up solid games afterwards. Revis, after being so dominant for so long in New York (well, New Jersey), was simply above average to elite in Tampa Bay and was a salary cap cut following his lone season with the Buccaneers.
Revis did win a Super Bowl the following season with the Patriots and return to New York, but the Jets landed an impact rookie and were able to bring Revis back later, albeit his final season being a forgettable one.
12 The Texans definitely were shot down at Harvard
The trade: Houston Texans trade quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to the New York Jets for a late-round conditional pick
The winner: New York Jets
Why? Like with Revis - and if you ever thought to yourself that Darrelle Revis would be compared to Ryan Fitzpatrick, today is your lucky day - Fitzpatrick's tenure in New York had an ugly finish, and their rematch earlier this month saw the bearded Harvard product (Stef, after Sunday's Bucs-Jets game, I'll send you over the statline and an updated portion for this bit) in a _. But, given that Fitzpatrick set several passing records for the Jets in 2015 and the Texans were blown out in the first round of the playoffs with Brian Hoyer at quarterback, I think they regretted trading the current Buccaneers backup.
And, hey, Fitzpatrick wasn't awful for the Texans in 2014 and Houston landed Deshaun Watson, so maybe all wasn't bad.
11 New Orleans gives up Darren Sproles...why?
The trade: New Orleans trades running back Darren Sproles to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick (Ronald Powell)
The winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Why? If the Saints' reasoning for trading Sproles, arguably their most dangerous weapon in 2013 and someone who still had plenty of mileage in the tank, was to get something before he hit free agency, then we can't fault them. However, Powell lasted only a year in New Orleans before being cut in September 2015 while Sproles, still having that juice and that speed, made three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2014-16 and totaled 2,266 yards from scrimmage during that time, although the Eagles failed to make the postseason in any of those years.
Now, with Sproles out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and a broken arm, he may have a chance to win a Super Bowl if the Eagles can ride their hot streak to Minnesota.
10 Jerry Hughes wakes up
The trade: Indianapolis Colts trade linebacker Kevin Sheppard for defensive end/linebacker Jerry Hughes
The winner: Buffalo Bills
Why? There are some memorable trades on this list we've already gotten to and that are still to come, but the Buffalo Bills buying low on Colts defensive end/linebacker Jerry Hughes and turning him into a solid pass-rusher is fairly underrated. After three sacks in three years with the Colts, Hughes broke out for 10 sacks in each of his first two years with the Bills.
Hughes' sack numbers did go slightly down when Rex Ryan was in town, but they're back up under Sean McDermott as the Bills look to finish strong and make the postseason for the first time in the 21st century. Not a bad find!
9 Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders, Part I: The Cutler Trade
The trade: Denver Broncos trade quarterback Jay Cutler and a fifth-round pick (Johnny Knox) to the Chicago Bears for quarterback Kyle Orton, a 2009 first-round (Robert Ayers) and third-round pick (which was traded to Pittsburgh and became Mike Wallace), and a 2010 first-round pick (which was traded to San Francisco and then to Philadelphia and became Brandon Graham)
The winner: Chicago Bears
Why? Why you ask? I don't think Denver regrets the Peyton Manning era, but to think they traded Cutler after such a simple misunderstanding - Brian Xanders and Josh McDaniels wanted to trade for Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, who had just won ten games in relief of an injured Tom Brady, and that (rightfully) upset Culter - and this was the best haul they could get back?
And somehow, the Broncos did worse than this? Oy vey....
8 Ryan Grigson's lone good move - Landing Vontae Davis
The trade: Indianapolis Colts trade a 2013 second-round pick (Jamar Taylor) to the Miami Dolphins for cornerback Vontae Davis.
The winner: Indianapolis Colts
Why? Davis may be falling out of favor with Chuck Pagano and the Colts in part because of an expensive contract and in part because of some declining play, but the former first-rounder was a solid cornerback in his first few years in Indianapolis. In fact, this and drafting T.Y. Hilton in the 2012 NFL Draft were probably Ryan Grigson's two best moves when he was the Colts' general manager. No, drafting Andrew Luck doesn't count because that would have been impossible to get wrong.
"I think if Vontae were coming out in the 2013 draft, there's no way he'd be there. A guy of this caliber and with this talent level and skill set, he wouldn't be there in the second (round)," Pagano said of the decision to trade a second-round pick. "You don't find guys like this in the second."
7 Oakland helps Carson Palmer just win, baby
The trade: Oakland Raiders trade quarterback Carson Palmer and a 2013 seventh-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for a 2013 sixth round pick (traded to Houston in a pick that became David Quessenberry) and a 2014 conditional seventh-round pick (Shelby Harris)
The winner: Arizona Cardinals
Why? Carson Palmer's stint in Oakland from 2011-12 is fairly forgettable, as is the former Heisman Trophy winner's brief retirement and holdout from the Cincinnati Bengals that led to his stint by the bay, but what he's done when healthy since joining the Cardinals makes for a feel-good story. Not unlike Kurt Warner, Palmer has rebounded from a dismal middle stint to put up Pro Bowl numbers and help some of these Cardinal teams overachieve - and, in the case of the 2014 season when he was hurt for a fair portion, make more of an MVP case than his touchdowns and passing yards ever could.
6 Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders, Part II: Dumping Brandon Marshall
The trade: Denver Broncos trade wide receiver Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round pick (later traded to the Baltimore Ravens, who drafted defensive end/linebacker Sergio Kindle) in the 2010 NFL Draft and a second-round pick (Orlando Franklin) in 2011.
The winner: Miami Dolphins
Why? I'll let Grantland take it from here:
"During the 2009 preseason, McDaniels suspended Marshall for conduct detrimental to the team, which amounted to a general lack of hustle in practice and “[punting] a ball away instead of handing it to a ball boy.” Apparently, Marshall was displeased with “the team’s misdiagnosis of a hip injury that required offseason surgery,” as well as his contract. When Marshall returned from his suspension, he went on to enjoy his third consecutive 100-catch season while breaking Terrell Owens’s record with 21 receptions in a game. However, in Week 17, Marshall arrived late for a physical therapy session “for treatment of a hamstring injury the team already believed he was exaggerating,” and was promptly benched.
McDaniels wanted to be too much like Bill Belichick and it cost him a future Hall of Fame receiver. When McDaniels does get another job, because he is going to get one, something tells me he'll try to mimic Belichick once more.
5 Seattle finds it hard with Harvin
The trade: Minnesota Vikings trade wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2013 first-round pick (Xavier Rhodes) and seventh round pick (Travis Bond) and a 2014 third-round pick (Jerick McKinnon)
The winner: Minnesota Vikings
Why? Harvin may have helped the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win in February 2014, but Minnesota definitely got the better end of this deal. Rhodes has become one of the league's top cornerbacks and made his first Pro Bowl last season, while McKinnon has been a reliable backup running back for the Vikings over the past four years and is on pace to set a career-high in rushing yards this season. It probably doesn't help Harvin's case when you remember he barely played in a season and a half before an October 2014 trade to the Jets.
4 See ya, LeSean McCoy
The trade: Philadelphia Eagles trade running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso
The winner: Buffalo Bills
Why? Can I just link the (NSFW) video here? You know what video I'm talking about. I think I'm just going to link that and let you listen while I remind you that Alonso is now with the Miami Dolphins and nearly getting ejected from games. McCoy, on the other hand, has averaged over four-and-a-half yards per carries in his two-plus seasons with the Bills and has them gearing up for a potential playoff run.
Then, you remember the whole controversy of Chip Kelly being accused of being racist - and yeah, at this point, I think EDP's video says more about this trade than we really need to.
3 Nick Foles for Sam Bradford
The trade: Philadelphia Eagles trade quarterback Nick Foles, a fourth-round pick in 2015 (Andrew Donnal) and a second-round pick in 2016 (later traded to the Tennessee Titans for Austin Johnson) to the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford and a fourth-round pick (Bobby McCain)
The winner: Philadelphia Eagles
Why? Really, this one shouldn't need to be explained at all. Foles was mediocre in his one season with the Rams in 2015 before taking a backup job in Kansas City last year and parlaying that into a return with the Eagles, while Bradford was solid and healthy enough in his lone season with the Birds to convince Minnesota to trade for him. As we said earlier, the Bradford trade did make sense and the Rams probably prefer Jared Goff to Sam Bradford, but this was not a pretty trade.
2 Buffalo gives up on Marshawn Lynch
The trade: Buffalo Bills trade running back Marshawn Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2011 4th round pick (Chris Hairston) and 2012 5th round pick (Tank Carder)
The winner: Seattle Seahawks
Why? Remember when Marshawn Lynch played in Buffalo and was sent packing because of attitude issues and the team favoring Fred Jackson as their running back? Remember when Lynch suddenly woke up in Seattle and carried the 7-9 NFC West-winning Seahawks to one of the greatest playoff upsets not involving the New York Giants? Remember how Lynch joined Steve Largent, Walter Jones, and Shaun Alexander among the greatest offensive players in Seahawks history and won a Super Bowl with the Birds during the 2013 season?
And, of course, let's not forget Lynch's greatest speech in Seattle: "yeah."
1 Chicago Bears ship off Greg Olsen
The trade: Chicago Bears trade tight end Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers for a 2012 3rd round pick (which was traded again and became Brandon Taylor)
The winner: Carolina
Why? If you remembered Greg Olsen even playing in Chicago, props to you, but the Bears have to regret daily giving up one of the league's best tight ends right now. When Rob Gronkowski is hurt, it's between Olsen - who has missed most of 2017 with a fractured foot - and Kansas City's Travis Kelce that have the greatest case for top tight end and after averaging 71 catches for 897 yards and five touchdowns from 2011-16 for the Panthers, that's an honor that's pretty well earned.
Chicago has made some bad moves over the years, but this? Find me something worse...
Which of these trades do you think was the worst? Let us know in the comment section below!
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