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10 Recent NFL Trades (And 10 Free Agent Signings) That Should Have Never Been Made

he National Football League (NFL) is a strange league in that rookies at prime positions can make a drastic impact. For instance, Leonard Fournette was one of the league's most effective running backs last season and Saquon Barkley is expected to be just as effective in his first season with the New York Giants. The league is increasingly becoming younger and teams and adapting. Players don't want to play the dangerous sport for as long and are also becoming less effective into their early 30s due to the physical nature of football. As a result, teams seem more willing to take chances on players via trade and free agent signings and, at the same time, more eager to cut ties with a player if he isn't performing up to expectation early in his career, although part of that can be owed to the absence of guaranteed contracts in the league.

Every league has its fair share of teams that have made regrettable trades or signings but, because of the changing nature of the league, the NFL has been more prone to ridiculous transactions in recent memory. Not saying that this list was 100 percent inspired by the Khalil Mack trade, but it's not hard to guess as to where that transaction ends up on the list. But that's just one of 20 recent moves teams are already wishing they hadn't made in the past year or so. Not surprisingly, the Browns and Bills show up more than once on the list, but even successful teams like the Patriots and Rams aren't immune from bad decisions.

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20 Trade: Dolphins Deal Jarvis Landry

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins didn't exactly have impressive wide receiver depth entering the 2018 offseason, but Jarvis Landry was a player the team could rely upon to earn upwards of 1,000 yards receiving. Instead of building upon Landry, the Dolphins shipped him off to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for fourth- and seventh-round picks in 2019.

Now, those picks could end up being Hall of Fame players (probably not since it's Cleveland picking), but until then it's a huge loss for the Dolphins. Miami might have won its first two games of the season, but its replacements for Landry - Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson - are far less talented and just a combined $1 million cheaper. Beyond that, it simply seems as though the Dolphins didn't maximize Landry's return by receiving a couple late-round picks.

19 Signing: Allen Robinson 

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Robinson only played the first offensive series of the 2017 season for the Jacksonville Jaguars before going down with a season-ending injury, but the team showed little trust in his ability to bounce back by choosing not to re-sign him in the offseason. Instead, the Chicago Bears inked the No. 1 receiver to a three-year, $42 million contract, which was a brilliant move.

However, he shouldn't have been on the market in the first place, even with his injury concerns. The 25-year-old was just two seasons removed from a league-leading 14 touchdowns and 1,400 yards receiving and was still relatively productive in 2016. Not surprisingly, he's been great through two games for the Bears.

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18 Trade: Seahawks Trade Michael Bennett

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks are 0-2 to start the 2018 season, which is strange to see. While the team lost a lot of talent in recent years, it also lost some of its most prideful and outspoken players, all of whom contributed to the winning culture in that locker room.

Now, the circumstances surrounding the Michael Bennett trade are a little different given his off-the-field concerns, but the Seahawks should have held on to the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, especially when the return was only a fifth-round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson. The 33-year-old managed 8.5 sacks last season and should post similar numbers this season with the Eagles.

17 Signing: Case Keenum

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Case Keenum was a great story in 2017. The undrafted career backup/fringe starter found his niche in Minnesota and led the team to an 11-3 record while registering career highs in completion percentage (67.6), passing yards (3,547), touchdowns (22), and quarterback rating (98.3). The Denver Broncos, eager to sign any quarterback not named Brock Osweiler for a change, rewarded Keenum with a two-year, $36 million contract for one season of above-average play.

It was a big gamble and, despite the fact the team started the season 2-0, Keenum led the league in interceptions with four and completed less than 60 percent of his passes. This is a contract that could look worse as the weeks go by.

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16 Trade: Panthers Trade Kelvin Benjamin

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

This is going back to the middle of last season, but it's still hard to fathom the Carolina Panthers trading Kelvin Benjamin, even with Devin Funchess emerging as his replacement. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound receiver was selected 28th overall by the team in the 2014 NFL Draft and registered a combined 1,949 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns through his first two seasons.

Yet, he was dealt to Buffalo prior to the 2017 trade deadline for a third- and a seventh-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Not surprisingly, Benjamin has struggled in Buffalo without a reliable quarterback, so the trade has proved baffling for both teams. For the Bills' sake, here's hoping he finds chemistry with Josh Allen.

15 Signing: Jimmy Graham

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Graham is still a good tight end and was once a top tight end in the league, but he's hardly the player he once was with the New Orleans Saints. The five-time Pro Bowler showed flashes of brilliance in three seasons with the Seahawks, but he never seemed to mesh with Russell Wilson.

It was particularly evident in 2017 when he registered only 520 receiving yards on 57 receptions for a career-worst 9.1 yards per reception. Despite that, he was given a three-year, $30 million contract by the Green Bay Packers this past offseason and, while he could prove effective in 2018, it's hard to see him being a threat beyond this season.

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14 Trade: Vikings Trade Picks To Draft Kicker

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

This wound might still be a little too fresh for Minnesota Vikings fans, but believe it or not the team traded a pair of draft picks to acquire recently-waived rookie kicker Daniel Carlson. The Vikings selected the Auburn alumnus in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft and gave him the opportunity to start in Week 1 of this season.

In Week 2, Carlson missed three field goals, including a 35-yard attempt in the dying seconds of overtime that would have improved the Vikings' record to 2-0 instead of 1-0-1. He was subsequently waived and replaced by Dan Bailey, the league's second-most accurate kicker of all-time. It's unfortunate the Vikings gave up a pair of draft picks on a wasted experiment like Carlson, but it isn't going to drastically impact the team's long-term future.

13 Signing: Richard Sherman

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

There was a time when Richard Sherman was the most dominant defensive back in the league and while he's still decent at his position, it's become apparent that he has lost a step. He was hampered by injuries last season and showed enough of a decline in abilities that the Seahawks decided to release him.

It didn't take long for Sherman to find a job as he signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the rival San Francisco 49ers. At best, the 30-year-old might earn his worth in 2018, but it's unlikely he's still dominant at his position in 2020. He's among the top 30 highest-paid defensive players in the league and has only been average through his first two games with the 49ers, although he wasn't tested much by either Matt Stafford or Kirk Cousins.

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12 Trade: Tyrod Taylor To Cleveland

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

As strange as it is to say, Tyrod Taylor is probably happier to be in Cleveland than Buffalo, although not by much. Had the Bills been smart, which is asking a lot for a historically inept franchise, they would have kept Taylor for at least one more season to provide rookie quarterback Josh Allen with extra protection.

The Bills offensive line is absolutely abysmal and subjecting a rookie to that as they have done is a terrible move for his development. Taylor knew the Bills' playbook and was comfortable with the offense. Instead, he was dealt for a third-round pick.

11 Signing: Marqise Lee

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Marqise Lee befitted from Allen Robinson's season-ending injury last season and, by default, became the Jaguars' No. 1 receiver. Now, it's easy to understand why the Jaguars would re-sign him after letting Robinson hit free agency, but it's hard to fathom how they thought he was worth a four-year, $38 million contract - although accumulating 702 receiving yards and three touchdowns with Blake Bortles as your quarterback can be viewed as quite the accomplishment.

Jokes aside, those numbers, especially as a No. 1 receiver, are not at all deserving of that contract. And Jacksonville likely already regrets the decision as Lee went down with a season-ending injury in the preseason.

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10 Trade: Jimmy Garoppolo To San Francisco

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

By no means is Jimmy Garoppolo better than Tom Brady and he might never even reach Brady's current talent level, but the New England Patriots, despite all their success, will one day look back at their handling of the Brady-Garoppolo situation with regret.

There are rumors that Brady personally went to management asking for Jimmy G to be traded as he viewed him as a threat and, as much as the organization owes a lot to Brady, there's no world that exists in which you trade a young up-and-coming potential star to appease a 40-year-old nearing the end of his career. To make matters worse, the Patriots only received a second-round pick for the promising quarterback.

9 Signing: Sam Bradford

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Signing Sam Bradford is never a good idea. That has been proven multiple times. But signing him to a $20 million contract when you know your team isn't going to contend anyway is one of the biggest wastes of money in professional sports. The Arizona Cardinals could have just spread out $20 million in cash across the parking lot of the University of Phoenix stadium and set it on fire.

The results would have been the same. Even ignoring his extensive injury history, Bradford has been overrated his entire career. And there are no signs of a comeback season either; the former first overall pick has only 243 yards passing, no touchdowns, and two interceptions through the first two games of the season.

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8 Trade: Brandin Cooks To Los Angeles Rams

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots seem to prefer underpaid, no-name wide receivers rather than players with star power, so it was a surprise to see them acquire Brandin Cooks for the New Orleans Saints during the 2017 offseason. However, after an impressive showing with the team during the 2017 season, it appeared he might have found a permanent home in New England, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Julian Edelman.

Yet, the Patriots opted to trade him to the Los Angeles Rams for a first- and sixth-round pick. Cooks has been a great fit early on in Los Angeles and complements an already dangerous offense that includes Todd Gurley, Cooper Kupp, and Robert Woods.

7 Signing: Paul Richardson

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Richardson is far from a star at wide receiver, but to his credit, he did have a breakout season in 2017 as one of Russell Wilson's primary targets in Seattle. However, even then, he still only managed 703 receiving yards and caught only 55 percent of his targets.

Seattle probably could have used him for another season alongside Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, but it's not a huge loss, especially at the price of five years and $40 million, which was the contract offer he received from the Washington Redskins. Richardson might prove a decent No. 3 receiver in Washington, but there's no way he lives up to that contract.

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6 Trade: Josh Gordon To The Patriots

Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of whether or not Josh Gordon meets expectations in New England, the Cleveland Browns should be fined heavily for allowing the team to improve significantly by only trading a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Jokes aside, it's easy to understand why the Browns would have finally given up on Gordon, but the timing is strange considering the team seems to be turning the corner.

The Patriots are the perfect organization for Gordon given his personal troubles as they'll be able to reel him in and use him effectively as the potential No. 1 receiver for Tom Brady. New England's loss to Jacksonville was a damper on the season, but the idea of Gordon and Julian Edelman lining up as targets for TB12 has to have Pats fans salivating.

5 Signing: Vontae Davis

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Hindsight is 20/20, but it's impossible to argue that the Bills don't regret signing Vontae Davis to a one-year, $5 million contract in the offseason. While both the term and salary seemed fine if he could return to his 2016 form, it was tough to see him doing so given his injury-plagued 2017 season. But that's not the issue with this signing.

Davis, if you weren't aware, retired during halftime of the Bills' Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He walked out on his team and didn't return. It's not a huge loss personnel-wise, but it's brutal PR for a franchise that has had its share of negative press in recent years.

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4 Trade: Oakland Raiders Trade Away Khalil Mack

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Through his first two games with the Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack has two sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception returned for a touchdown. This is hardly a surprise to anyone who watches football and shouldn't be surprising to John Gruden and the Oakland Raiders.

Yet, despite his status as one of the game's elite defensive players, the Raiders decided not to pay Mack what he was worth and instead traded him to Chicago along with a pair of draft picks in exchange for four picks, two of which are in the first round. The Raiders are already a colossal mess with the planned move to Las Vegas, but this trade should sour the last of the franchise's remaining fans in Oakland.

3 Signing: Jerick McKinnon

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to guess how much Jerick McKinnon was making this season, what would you say? Anywhere from $3-$5 million per season is more than adequate for a running back who has a career high of 570 rushing yards. Even considering the 421 receiving yards he registered last season, it's hard to imagine paying big money for the career undrafted backup.

And although he is an effective receiver out of the backfield, he's no Alvin Kamara. That's why it was surprising to see the San Francisco 49ers sign him to a four-year, $30 million contract this past offseason. Even worse, he hasn't been able to prove himself worthy of that contract as he was sidelined with a season-ending injury in the preseason.

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2 Trade: Rams Ship Alec Ogletree To New York

Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

The Los Angeles Rams have done a lot of things right in recent years, which is evident by their performance in 2017 and early-season success in 2018, but trading linebacker Alec Ogletree to the New York Giants wasn't one of them. The team's defense has undergone a tremendous transformation in the run of a year as if it was being constructed by someone playing Madden 19 and the Ogletree trade seems as if someone just ran the trade finder and accepted the first deal that came up.

The former first-round pick has been among the Rams' leading tacklers in four of the past five seasons, but in March was dealt along with a seventh-round pick to the Giants in exchange for a fourth- and a sixth-round pick. It especially didn't make sense for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

1 Signing: Albert Wilson

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

As previously mentioned, the Miami Dolphins went budget shopping for offensive players this offseason instead of keeping Jarvis Landry. That might end up paying off (the team is 2-0 to start the season), but it seems unlikely. One of its "prized" acquisitions was former Kansas City Chiefs wideout Albert Wilson, who was signed to a three-year, $24 million contract, despite the fact the Dolphins could have found his production in undrafted free agents or late in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Wilson has only topped 500 receiving yards once in his career and had only seven touchdowns in 55 career games prior to this season. Eight million seems a hefty price for that kind of production.

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