How does one know the trade value of a player? You can put a value on a player, but you truly don’t know their worth until they play for another team. Some plays are overpriced, while other players may be underpriced. It’s a part of trades. Someone is going to win.
We picked 20 trades in the past two years that are one-sided. This doesn’t just mean that the trade worked out for just one of the teams, but that one team really fleeced the other. When teams engage in trade talks, they want to walk out a winner. When it goes through, they want to feel good that they got the better half of the deal. Some trades are pretty obvious that one team got fleeced, while other trades take time to really see how it played out. Rarely in the NFL does a trade really end up benefiting both teams.
You don’t realize how many trades occur each year, especially with the NFL Draft. Many of the trades in the NFL occur on draft weekend, as teams swap picks. Sometimes, you will even see players get traded on draft night for picks.
What has become especially trendy, is teams trading their star talents a season before they hit free agency, if they don’t plan on re-signing them. It’s smart, that way teams can get value out of a player before they hit free agency. The unfair part is that players have little control over where they go. Trades can cause a lot of drama.
Two seasons in Carolina is what makes teams still interested in Kelvin Benjamin. A lot of fans were surprised that Benjamin was traded, considering he caught 168 passes for 2,424 yards and 18 touchdowns within 40 games. The general consensus was that Benjamin was a No. 1 wide receiver. Well, the Bills thought so too.
Somehow, the Bills were fighting for a playoff spot in the 2017 season, and traded for Benjamin at the trade deadline. Benjamin wasn’t worth a third and seventh round pick, especially since the Bills would later release him. Basically, the Bills gave up a mid-round draft pick for nothing.
Imagine trading a second and fourth-round pick, to move up three picks to pick a player that will be on your roster for less than two seasons. The 49ers are definitely kicking themselves over the mistake they made when they drafted Reuben Foster. Foster has been in off-field trouble for a few different things, and the 49ers had enough.
The 49ers' 2017 first round pick is already off the team. The 49ers could’ve drafted one of the best offensive linemen in the league in Ryan Ramcyzk. That would’ve helped them avoid having to draft an offensive lineman with a top-10 pick in 2018.
Marshawn Lynch was already retired, came back, picked where he wanted to play when he came out of retirement and that was it. The Seahawks really had no say in where they could trade Lynch, or what they could get out of it. If the Seahawks traded Lynch before he originally retired, they probably could’ve got a day two pick out of it. Instead, they were forced to settle with a fifth round pick, while also giving up a sixth rounder.
Lynch hasn’t been great in his return back to the NFL, but he still had the makings of a starting running back. Seattle really was in a no-win situation, as there was no way they were getting more.
Age will drive teams to trade players, but it shouldn’t drive teams to give players away. In 2017, Jason McCourty was good with the Browns. He finished with three interceptions, taking one back for a touchdown, 14 pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Those are pretty good statistics for a cornerback who was 30 at the time.
It’s surprising the Browns didn’t push the envelope for a fourth-round pick. Instead, they traded McCourty and a seventh-round pick to the Patriots for a sixth-rounder. McCourty went on to finish the season with an interception, 10 pass deflections, and a forced fumble. Not bad for a sixth-round pick.
Usually, it’s the Steelers who are the drama-filled team, which they still are. This past offseason, they decided to trade Martavis Bryant, who is known for having a history of off-the-field issues. They didn’t settle for nothing either, as they traded Bryant to the Raiders for a third-round pick. That’s a silly trade on the part of the Raiders, considering they knew Bryant’s personality concerns, and he was drafted in the fourth round.
After the Raiders traded for Bryant, he was released and later re-signed. All in all, the Raiders could’ve possibly gotten him for a late rounder, or waited it out. Instead, they lost out on a third-round pick.
Oh, the 49ers are probably sick that they traded away a draft pick that was used to select Alvin Kamara. That’s the thing with running backs, is they can come from all over the draft and you never know which ones will become stars. Kamara is a top-10 running back, and maybe a top-5 as far as versatility in the league.
The Saints traded a 2017 seventh-round pick and 2018 second-round pick to the 49ers in return of a 2017 third-round pick, which was used to draft Kamara. At the time it looked like an easy move for the 49ers, but they have to be disappointed looking back at that trade.
Talk about bad trades, the Seahawks nearly unleashed the house to acquire Sheldon Richardson. Maybe the Seahawks thought Richardson was the final piece to a Super Bowl defense, but that was proven wrong pretty quick as they missed the playoffs.
What is mind-boggling is the Seahawks didn’t re-sign Richardson. The Vikings came out of nowhere and signed him. This is a player that the Seahawks gave up Jermaine Kearse, a 2018 second-round pick, and a 2018 seventh-round pick for. If you’re giving up that much talent, you have to be thinking about extending the player you’re trading for. Apparently, the Seahawks did not.
If Maurice Hurst didn’t have a heart condition, there’s a very good chance that he could’ve been drafted in the first round in 2018. The Raiders made some poor choices in last year’s draft, but trading up for the stud defensive tackle out of Michigan wasn’t one of them. Hurst finished the season with 31 combined tackles and four sacks.
If Hurst stays healthy this may have been the steal of the 2018 draft. All the Raiders gave up was a fifth and sixth round pick, which isn’t bad considering they basically swapped out fifth rounders. Maybe there was a bright side to 2018 for Oakland.
Just because a player makes a mistake doesn’t mean you should trade them. The Packers probably wouldn't have traded Ty Montgomery had he not fumbled a kickoff which would’ve given Aaron Rodgers a chance to win the game. It’s just ironic that the same week Montgomery fumbles a kickoff is the same week he gets traded. Considering he was traded for a 2020 seventh round pick, that makes it seem sketchier.
Not that Montgomery became a star in Baltimore, but he played well when he was in there. For a seventh-round pick that doesn’t come for two years, this was a steal for the Ravens. It gives them security at the running back position.
When the news surfaced that the Giants traded Damon Harrison for a fifth-round pick, everyone was kind of stunned. Not by the fact that Harrison was traded, but what they were willing to take to give him up.
Harrison turned 30 years old in November, so yes, he’s not as valuable as he once was. This is still one of the better defensive tackles in the league, so the Giants could’ve tried reaching out to other teams to go after a fourth-round pick. For what they gave up, they were better off holding on to him throughout the rest of the season and trying to trade him again in the offseason.
Marcus Davenport was good this season, but was he so good that he was worth two first round picks? As some may recall, the Saints traded their 2018 and 2019 first round pick, along with their 2018 fifth-round pick to move up 13 spots in this past draft. When it was announced that the Saints were trading up, most fans expected them to draft Lamar Jackson or Derwin James. When it was announced that they drafted Davenport, everyone stood silent.
Davenport can be good, but when a team moves up so many spots in the draft, they expect that player to really elevate their team. It's just hard to see Davenport's ceiling being worth what the Saints may have given up.
Jon Gruden really didn't make a good first impression in Oakland, as the Raiders essentially tore their team down. They traded their star defensive player and arguably a top-3 defensive player in the game when they sent Khalil Mack to Chicago. Considering they got two first round picks, a third-round pick, and a sixth-round pick out of it, it was at least a solid return. However, the Raiders did give up a second and fifth round pick along with Mack. What's worse for the Raiders is that the pick they got from Chicago for 2019 will only be the 24th overall pick. Odds are, they won't find a player of Mack's caliber.
Rarely would it seem like a giving up that many draft picks would be worth it, but it was for a player like Mack. The Bears have a top-five defense now with the help of Mack and won the NFC North for the first time since 2010.
Fifth-round picks usually aren’t anything to go crazy over, but the Browns were able to acquire the easiest possible fifth-round pick. You may think Carlos Hyde was worth more, but the Browns had a running back ready to start and cleared off cap space by getting rid of him. Not to mention, Hyde was only averaging only 3.4 yards per carry. The Browns likely realized that Hyde wasn't going to be the difference maker they felt he'd be when they signed him last spring. It certainly seems like that, considering Hyde’s replacement, Nick Chubb, finished the season with 996 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
A reason why the Jaguars traded for Hyde was so they could have a starting running back while Leonard Fournette was out. Little did they know how Fournette came back very quickly after the trade.
Some analysts will say that the Dolphins and Eagles trade for Jay Ajayi was even, but it wasn’t. The Eagles were a strong running game away from winning a Super Bowl, and Ajayi became a beast in Philadelphia. So, of course, the Eagles would go on to win the Super Bowl.
Look at the big picture. Frank Gore is aging and may not even be back next season with the Dolphins, and Kenyan Drake is inconsistent. Ajayi is a beast and is only 25 years old. This is a running back in his prime that the Dolphins traded away for merely a fourth-round pick. And the coach who felt his attitude was a problem, Adam Gase, is no longer their head coach anyway.
Not once, but twice the Saints messed up trading draft picks. With Drew Brees signing a two-year extension, there’s a very good chance that he'll retire following the 2019 season. With so much young talent, the Saints decided to prepare early, by trading for their potential quarterback of the future.
After the Jets signed Bridgewater this past offseason, they traded him to the Saints for a 2019 third-round pick. That sounds like a pretty good deal for a franchise quarterback. In Bridgewater’s first start as a Saint, he threw for only 118 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. While that was one meaningless game, it's hard to think that Bridgewater is a worthy heir apparent for Brees. Meanwhile, the Jets got a 3rd rounder for a QB who would've been sitting on the bench for them.
Some quarterbacks need to be mentored, others don’t. By the end of the 2018 season, every quarterback drafted in the first round was the starting quarterback of their team. Clearly, those teams didn’t feel strongly about finding their quarterbacks a mentor.
The Browns have gone through too many quarterbacks and didn’t want to mess this one up as well. Baker Mayfield would have been the successor of Tyrod Taylor, who was acquired from the Bills in return for a third-round pick. Taylor started three games to start off the season, before Mayfield took over for the remainder of the season, and kept them in playoff contention until Week 16. Taylor likely won't be back in Cleveland next year, unless he takes a paycut and accepts being a backup.
Usually, the Patriots don’t make bad decisions. When they traded away Jimmy Garoppolo for only a second-round pick, it seemed like a big mistake for the “perfect” organization. Garoppolo was looked at as the successor of Tom Brady, which is why the Patriots shouldn’t have traded him for anything less than a first-round pick.
Garoppolo came to San Francisco and changed this team, and was immediately offered an extension. While he got hurt early this season, he still has a lot of potential, and his team believes he can turn things around for the organization. Instead of trading Garoppolo, Robert Kraft should’ve held on to what could’ve been the future face of the Patriots franchise.
Even though Aqib Talib missed most of this season, the Rams trading for him was worth it. The Rams only gave the Broncos a fifth-round pick in return for the star cornerback. Talib was simply acquired to give this Rams team the best chance they can at a Super Bowl before they have to pay Jared Goff.
Even in only eight games, Talib finished with an interception, five pass deflections, and a forced fumble. Best of all, he was back in time for the playoffs and helped the Rams reach the Super Bowl. The Rams got Talib to get them through the playoffs and Talib's experience certainly went a long way.
Tom Brady definitely wishes that Josh Gordon didn’t get suspended again, but for what they gave up, it was worth the risk. The Patriots acquired Gordon and a seventh-round pick while giving up a fifth-round pick. For a playoff team, this isn’t a bad move at all. Gordon finished his season in New England with 40 receptions for 720 yards and three touchdowns. If Gordon was on the Browns for those 11 games, there’s a very good chance they could’ve been competing to play in the playoffs in Week 17. At the time they acquired Gordon, the Pats were struggling on offense and it's possible not having Gordon for those 11 games could've seen them lose a couple more.
When the news broke that Amari Cooper was traded to the Cowboys for a first-round pick, everyone laughed. Analysts thought that was one of Jerry Jones’s worst most recent moves. Well, almost everyone was wrong. Cooper turned out to be the best mid-season acquisition of them all, as he helped the Cowboys offense’ improve, leading them to win the NFC East.
In nine games, Cooper finished with 53 receptions for 725 yards and six touchdowns. Those are pretty incredible numbers, considering how poorly he played in Oakland. Once again, Jon Gruden made a bad mistake, as the Cowboys' first-round pick will be 27th overall. For Dallas, getting Cooper, who's still young, was likely a better option than taking a chance on a rookie WR in a class that's pretty thin at receiver.