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Top 15 Worst Trades in NFL History

Trade trends in the NFL are in the middle of a resurgence with this offseason already witnessing several blockbuster deals between Super Bowl hopefuls. The league has been traditionally risk averse because trades have a tendency of going very badly for at least one team involved. While some blockbuster trades have paid dividends in the form of Super Bowl rings, they have also left some teams with their future mortgaged for a mediocre present. NFL roster building is a delicate balancing act and one-sided trades can tip the scales heavily.

Trades have a potential to elevate a team from a playoff contender to Super Bowl champion if they fulfill the needs of the team without giving up too much. They also have the potential to hamstring a team for the foreseeable future if a prospect does not turn out as expected. Still the incentive remains for teams to remain active in trade rumors due to the value a team may receive in return. For example, the Patriots excel in the trade department thanks to a savvy general managers and Bill Belichick’s eye for talent. Their cutthroat deals have paved the way to multiple Super Bowl victories and made them the envy of the league.

On the other side of the coin, there are franchises currently in utter disarray because of disastrous trades. The Atlanta Falcons suffered from a lack of defensive depth after trading nearly an entire draft class for Julio Jones. The Washington Professional Football Team is in a state of upheaval after both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins have struggled during their tenure with the team. It remains to be seen if any of the deals that took place this off season will prove to be catastrophic, but at least one team will be starting behind the 8-ball.

15 Jimmy Graham for Max Unger

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

14 Oilers Trade Steve Largent

via nfl.com

13 Chargers Move up for Ryan Leaf

via thebiglead.com

12 Cowboys Make Moves for Roy Williams

via thecovertwo.com

11 Dolphins trade Wes Welker

via miamisportsmachine.blogspot.com

10 Bears Trade for Rick Mirer

via seahawks.com

9 The RGIII Deal

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

8 New Orleans Trades Up to Get Ricky Williams

via 3news.co.nz

7 Steelers take the Bus from St. Louis

via missourinet.com

6 Buccaneers trade Steve Young

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5 Raiders get 4th Round Pick for Randy Moss

via complex.com

4 Colts trade Marshall Faulk

via thesportspost.com

3 Colts trade John Elway

via realclearsports.com

2 Herschel Walker to Vikings

via wctrib.com

1 Packers Bet the Farm on John Hadl

via jsonline.com

Once upon a time in 1974, the Green Bay Packers were absolutely desperate for a quarterback and Dan Devine believed a veteran quarterback would lead them to the Super Bowl. John Hadl was fresh off of leading the Rams to the playoffs and was dealt to the Packers for an amazing haul of five draft picks. Hadl was a 33-year-old quarterback at the time of the trade and would go on to start only 19 games for the Packers, going 7-12 in those games. For their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks in 1975 and their 1st and 2nd round picks in 1976, the Packers received only 9 touchdown passes from Hadl.

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Top 15 Worst Trades in NFL History