The trade deadline in most major sports generates around the clock coverage and speculation. Blockbuster trades occur at the deadline and during free agency every season. The NFL breaks the mold in this regard. Impactful, risky trades involving players rarely transpire due to the complication of schemes and chemistry. More often than not, the most action occurs on draft day when teams package and exchange picks to maneuver around the board.
Of course, the allure of landing a key player sometimes overrides the inclination to play it safe. GMs face tricky obstacles with this task. They must approach deals fairly despite a transparent desire to outsmart their trade partner. There is bound to be a clear winner and loser as time unfolds.
This list covers the most lopsided dealings in the past decade. The year limit removes some of the most boneheaded trades of all time from contention. That means no Dallas dynasty built on the heels of the Herschel Walker gift that kept on giving. Mike Ditka trading his entire draft in order to pick his lovely bride, Ricky Williams, escapes judgment. Still, there are a handful of moves to dissect.
Here are the Top 15 Most One-Sided Trades of the Last 10 Years:
15 Packers Trade Brett Favre to Jets (2008)
14 Bucs Trade Jets a 1st and 4th for Darrelle Revis (2013)
13 Seahawks Trade Max Unger and a 1st to Saints for Jimmy Graham (2015)
12 New England Ships Deion Branch to Seattle for a 1st rounder (2006)
11 Dolphins Trade a 2nd round pick for Vikings’ Daunte Culpepper (2006)
10 Eagles Trade LeSean McCoy to Bills for Kiko Alonso (2015)
9 Seattle Swaps Three Picks for Percy Harvin (2013)
8 Colts Trade 1st Round Pick for Cleveland’s Trent Richardson (2013)
This story doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending for either team, but the win goes to Cleveland based on flexibility and foresight. The Browns traded their 2012 3rd overall pick, Trent Richardson, to Indianapolis after their second game in 2013. Many accused Cleveland of tanking, as fans and players alike questioned ownership’s commitment to winning. For the first time in recent history, the Browns knew what they were doing. Richardson played overweight and lethargically. He averaged 3.1 yards per carry and rushed for an abysmal 977 yards in 29 games with the Colts. The team admitted defeat and released him following the 2014 season. Richardson is now out of the league.
7 Cowboys Trade Three Picks to Lions for Roy Williams (2008)
6 Bills Trade Marshawn Lynch to Seattle for Two Mid-round Picks (2010)
5 Raiders Lure Carson Palmer out of Retirement (2011)
4 Dolphins Trade Wes Welker to Patriots (2007)
3 Raiders Trade Randy Moss to Patriots for One Mid-round Pick (2007)
2 Redskins Trade up for RGIII (2012)
1 Rams Repeat Washington’s Mistakes for Jared Goff (2016)
Sometimes the student becomes the master. Other times, the student isn’t even involved and the master simply forgets everything they taught a mere four years prior. The Rams’ front office should know better than anyone how trading the team’s future for a quarterback could backfire. Somehow, the move to Los Angeles inspired them to reverse their philosophy from 2012. The benefactor of several high picks in the previous trade, the Rams turned around and sacrificed even more for Jared Goff. This is purely a speculative, bonus inclusion as a lopsided trade, but history does not bode well for Los Angeles. The Rams sent their 1st round pick (15th), two 2nd round picks (43rd and 45th), 3rd round pick (76th), a 2017 1st round pick and a 2017 3rd round pick to the Titans. In return, LA received Tennessee’s first overall pick, a 4th rounder and a 6th rounder in the 2016 Draft. Jared Goff was the first quarterback taken number one overall to not start the season opener since JaMarcus Russell. Not only that, but Fisher placed him third on the depth chart, rendering him inactive. The coming years will prove whether or not LA made the right decision, but the JaMarcus Russell tidbit doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
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