NFL franchises usually have a pretty good grasp on analyzing potential, but that doesn't always guarantee success. We're sure if the Atlanta Falcons knew Brett Favre only needed someone believing in him for him to become the player he became, they wouldn't have traded him his first year on the team. Shocking, isn't it? Well, the NFL has a lot of mind-blowing trades that left fans in an uproar. Take a read and find out what they were.
Brett Favre To The Jets
Brett Farve had a stellar career for the Green Bay Packers. He won them a championship, he threw an insane amount of touchdowns, and he became a Green Bay hero. His downfall came after he repetitively kept playing with his retirement.
The front office didn't like that too much, and they decided to ship Favre to the New York Jets. He still had on one shade of green, but he couldn't match the same success he had as a Cheesehead.
Marshawn Lynch To Seattle
The Buffalo Bills haven't been a threatening team in the NFL for quite some time. Rebuilding is a term organizations use when it's time to unload their current players, in hopes of starting new and younger.
Mid-way through the 2010 season, the Bills began the process, and none other than Marshawn Lynch was a part of the fiasco. They sent him to the Seattle Seahawks for a bag of chips and a bar of soap (a couple of draft picks). We then witnessed Lynch become Beastmode in the Northwest.
Marshall Faulk To The Rams
In what could be the best trade in NFL history, the Indianapolis Colts got the short end of the stick with this one. In 1999, the Colts wanted to get rid of Marshall Faulk so they could draft Ricky Williams.
The Rams couldn't resist and landed the future Hall of Famer for a second and fifth-round pick. The first year he played there, the Rams would go on to win the Super Bowl. Faulk retired with 12,279 career rushing yards.
Joe Montana To The Chiefs
It's always tough for franchises to move on from a player that's a legend and provided so much value over their tenure. That was the case for the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana when he wasn't ready to retire, but Steve Young was ready to take over.
Think of it like Peyton Manning with the Colts as Indianapolis wanted to draft Andrew Luck to replace the decaying (but still highly effective) icon. The Niners ended up sending Montana and David Whitmore to the Kansas City Chiefs for their first-round selection in 1993.
Jalen Ramsey To The Rams
The defending NFC champs were on a three-game losing streak after winning their first three games of the 2019-20 NFL season. Due to this, they had to make an aggressive roster move to help restore order. Hello there, Jalen Ramsey.
Ramsey is the only cornerback to hold quarterbacks below an 80.0 passer rating when they throw his direction since the 2016 season. Ever since acquiring the all-pro defender, the Rams have been unstoppable. They hope to make another run to the Super Bowl.
Randy Moss To The Vikings
There aren't many receivers in the history of the league as talented as Randy Moss. His legend is still prevalent; whenever someone makes a miraculous catch over a defender, the defenseman gets "Mossed."
Due to his many moods, the New England Patriots sent him back to the Minnesota Vikings (where he started his career) in 2010. He wanted more money on his contract, but the Patriots couldn't give the man what he desired. The Patriots received a third-round 2011 pick for the star.
Carson Palmer To The Raiders
To say the relationship between the Bengals and Carson Palmer was in a bad place would be a vast understatement. Simply put, the quarterback held out, saying he'd rather retire than play for the Bengals, a few weeks into the season he received a text to head over to Oakland.
Palmer desperately wanted to get traded from Cincinnati, and the Oakland Raiders were able to grant his wish after the Bengals looked as if they weren't going to allow him to leave.
Jimmy Garoppolo To The 49ers
At one point in time, it looked like the Patriots had a replacement ready for Tom Brady, in the event that he eventually became mortal. This replacement was Jimmy Garoppolo, who even played backup to Tom Brady in two Super Bowls.
The only thing is that Brady still had a decent amount of gas in the tank in 2017. As a result, the Pats shipped Jimmy G to the 49ers, and the rest was history.
Khalil Mack To The Bears
When the Oakland Raiders first drafted Khalil Mack in the 2014 draft at the fifth spot, many scratched their heads. It wouldn't take long for the Oakland faithful to appreciate the defensive juggernaut and want him protected at all costs.
Then, Jon Gruden arrived in Oakland, and one of his first moves was sending Mack to the Chicago Bears. On the surface, it looked like one of the most ludicrous trades ever, but after advanced analytics presided over the exchange, it turned out not to be so bad.
Jerome Bettis To The Steelers
It was draft day 1996, and the Pittsburgh Steelers made a huge move. The St. Louis Rams landed Jerome Bettis, but the Steelers must have deeply wanted The Bus on their team even before he earned that nickname.
They sent the Rams second and fourth-round picks for Bettis and a third-rounder. Bettis would go on to post six straight 1,000-yard seasons as he ran his way into the Hall of Fame. The Steelers knew what they were doing.
Odell Beckham Jr. To The Browns
Surrounding this trade was a vast number of "whys?" Why did the Giants get rid of the man who possibly made the greatest catch in NFL history? Why did New York trade the star for two draft picks and a safety?
Also, why did General Manager Dave Gettleman sign Beckham Jr. to a considerable extension and then send him packing within seven months? "I've been to seven [Super Bowls], and every single team had a great locker room," he said. We guess that answers the questions. Beckham has had a history of being a distraction.
John Elway To The Broncos
Many times, players aren't who they'll be when they come out of college to the league. That wasn't the case for John Elway, who was spectacular right from the jump. When the Colts chose him first overall in the 1983 draft, he refused to sign with the debacle of a team.
Elway demanded a trade while his agent said Elway "would be a garbage collector before he'd play for Baltimore." Elway also looked to have a promising career in baseball, so he used that as leverage to secure the deal to the Broncos.
Sam Bradford To The Vikings
Then Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had a great season in 2016 before sustaining a season-ending knee injury. The Vikings, who wanted to make the playoffs, hadn't lost hope, so they contacted the Philadelphia Eagles.
The two teams eventually worked out a deal that sent the former first overall pick to Minnesota for a few picks. The Vikings received a filler for Bridgewater that didn't pan out how they expected. It's not fun getting the short end of the stick.
Eric Dickerson To The Colts
It was a trade that shocked the entire football world. The Los Angeles Rams decided to get rid of all-pro running back Eric Dickerson in a massive ten player, three-team deal involving the Bills and Colts.
The Colts cut ties with two players and six draft picks to acquire the talent from the Rams in 1987. The Colts also had to let go of a rookie linebacker by sending him to Buffalo so that they could get a player and more draft picks for the Dickerson trade.
Brett Favre To The Packers
Brett Favre makes an appearance again, but this time earlier in his career. The Atlanta Falcons selected the quarterback 33rd overall in the 1991 draft, but it was all for nothing.
After starting his career terribly (his first regular-season pass was an interception that almost became a touchdown), the Falcons had enough. The Packers shipped a first-round pick for the future Hall of Famer. General Manager Ron Wolf won this deal as he believed in Favre.
Steve Largent To The Seahawks
Steve Largent had an interesting start to his remarkable career. After having a college career to brag about at the University of Tulsa, he surprisingly didn't hear his name in the 1976 draft until the 4th round.
It took the Houston Oilers only four preseason games to determine that they didn't need his services anymore. Largent was going to get cut, but instead, they sent him to the Seattle Seahawks for a 1977 eighth-round pick. Seattle had the last laugh as Largent went on to have a great career.
Steve Young To The 49ers
The 49ers trading for Steve Young ultimately contributed to them shipping out Joe Montana. They probably had a better sense than any fan if Montana was on the decline, so they did what was best for the business.
The 49ers gave the Buccaneers a second-round pick, $1 million, and a fourth-round selection in exchange for Young. Up until that point, Young was only 3-16 as a starter and had ten more interceptions than touchdowns. That didn't matter because he went on to become a legend.
Atlanta Gets Julio Jones From Cleveland
The Browns made a costly mistake at the 2011 draft. They swapped picks with the Atlanta Falcons, only to miss out on juggernaut Julio Jones. Cleveland received five draft picks in return. Those picks turned out to be non-notables including Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson.
Neither player or the remaining picks would leave a lasting impact. As for Jones, he became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 career receiving yards, accomplishing the feat in 104 games.
The Herschel Walker Trade
It's the most historic trade the NFL has ever seen. Dallas sent Minnesota standout running back Herschel Walker along with three draft picks. The Cowboys ended up with four players and eight picks, using one of those picks to draft the legendary Emmitt Smith.
Plus, Dallas got their hands on defensive tackle Russell Maryland and safety Darren Woodson. That would be enough to build a dynasty in the nineties. As for Walker, he only played two and a half seasons with the purple and gold.
Antonio Brown To The Raiders
Yes, there was severe off the field issues going on between Antonio Brown and the Steelers, but his talent seemed to matter more. After many tweet-then-delete messages from Brown, his public statements concerning Big Ben, and saying he wanted to leave, Brown finally got his wish.
As messed up as things were in Pittsburgh, there could have been a way to keep the all-pro talent who led the league in pretty much every stat pivotal to the wide receiver position. All the Steelers received in return form Oakland was a third and fifth-round pick.
Trent Richardson To The Colts
The Cleveland Browns selected Trent Richardson as a top-three pick in the 2011 draft. The Alabama product quickly gave the Browns the impression he wasn't going to turn out to be the generational talent they might've hoped him to become.
They sent him to the Indianapolis Colts in 2013 as a result. Once he landed with the Colts, his career began to fizzle out and it looked the Browns finally made a great business move for once.
Julio Jones Didn't Return The Falcons A First-Round Pick
In 2021, under a massive salary cap crunch that would make it impossible to sign their draft picks, the Atlanta Falcons traded Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans for a 2022 second and fourth round draft pick.
When it was first announced Jones was on the trade block, it was believed the Falcons' wanted to be blown away with an offer than included at least a first round pick. When push finally came to shove, however, Atlanta was forced to take what they could get.
Terrell Owens To The Eagles
One of the most polarizing figures in sports history is, without a doubt, Terrell Owens. The wide receiver played for a handful of teams throughout his career and found a way to impact them all, even if it was negatively.
The 49ers ended up sending a pick they acquired from the Ravens, back to Baltimore, and traded Owens to the Eagles for defensive end Brandon Whiting. The Eagles would end up going to the Super Bowl with the combination of Owens and Donovan McNabb.
Chandler Jones To The Arizona Cardinals
Bill Belichick has a long history of trading players in their contract years. For the most part, it's worked in the coach's favor. In 2016, the New England Patriots struck a blockbuster deal with the Arizona Cardinals that didn't follow the trend.
The team traded pass rusher Chandler Jones in exchange for offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper and a second-round pick. Jones has reached three consecutive double-digit sack season in the desert. As for Cooper, he was released by the Patriots in 2016.
Chicago Bears Gave Away Greg Olsen
Most people might not remember that Greg Olsen spent four seasons in the Windy City. He wasn't able to find consistency with either Kyle Orton or Jay Cutler as his quarterback. That would lead the Bears to send him to the Carolina Panthers for a third-round pick in 2012.
Chicago flipped the pick to the San Diego Chargers. As for Olsen, he found a new life with Cam Newton as his go-to target. He managed to reach three 1,000-yard seasons from 2012-2014.
49ers Hand Over Alex Smith To Kansas City
Alex Smith was concussed in 2012, opening the door for Colin Kaepernick. Coach Jim Harbaugh went with the hot hand, leading to a Super Bowl appearance. Following the season, the 49ers sent the former first overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for two draft selections.
The 49ers turned it into four additional picks, including Carlos Hyde. Smith led the Chiefs to five winning seasons. He is credited for quickly transitioning a franchise into a winner that had struggled for most of the 21st century.
Dallas Cowboys Get Amari Cooper
It's too early to say the Oakland Raiders lost on the Amari Cooper trade. While the team is in rebuild mode, they did get a 2019 first-round draft pick for fourth overall selection from the 2015 draft.
Cooper quickly established himself as Dallas' new number one wide receiver, working alongside Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The Raiders, as they did with Khalil Mack, wound up trading another young star in his prime. Hopefully, they can make up for it at the draft.
Colts Send Marshall Faulk To St. Louis
The Hall of Famer was a huge part of the Colts offense from 1994 to 1998. As soon as Peyton Manning came to town, the offense had limitless potential.
However, Faulk would be on the short end of the stick as the team traded him to the Rams for draft picks that would become Mike Peterson and Brad Scioli. Faulk was on "The Greatest Show On Turf" offense with Kurt Warner and Isaac Bruce, eventually winning Super Bowl XXXIV.
New England Patriots Handed The 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo showed his worth in two starts with the Patriots while Tom Brady was suspended. Belichick, always an opportunist, opted to trade the young quarterback at the 2017 trade deadline. He sent the East Illinois alum to the San Francisco 49ers for their 2018 second-round draft pick.
"Jimmy G" would win his first six starts for the 49ers. In return, the team handed him a five-year extension worth $137.5 million. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in Week 3 and he missed most of the 2018 season.
Buffalo Bills Get Shady For LeSean McCoy
The Bills hit a home run when they landed LeSean McCoy in 2015. The Blockbuster trade saw the running back be shipped from the Philadelphia Eagles for linebacker Kiki Alonso. The Eagles rolled with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews at running back, who both flopped in the City of Brotherly Love.
Meanwhile, the Pro Bowl running back became Bill's top offensive threat with two 1,000 rushing yard seasons under his belt. But, at least the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018.
Miami Dolphins Got Tired Of Jarvis Landry
There's no denying that the Dolphins haven't developed superstar players since Dan Marino. At LSU, Jarvis Landry was a nightmare of a matchup for opposing defenses. After a few underwhelming season in the NFL, the Dolphins decided to trade away the flashy playmaker to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a fourth and seventh-round selection.
In Cleveland, Landry produced at a high level, especially with Baker Mayfield as his quarterback. The Browns' were so happy they even handed him a $75 million contract extension. Meanwhile, the Dolphins seem to be regressing in yet another full-on rebuild.
Chargers Trade Up For Ryan Leaf
This one is a doozy. The 1998 NFL Draft saw Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf as two-franchise changing quarterbacks. The Indianapolis Colts selected the future Hall of Famer while the San Diego Chargers took a chance on Leaf.
Initially, the Chargers swung a deal with the Cardinals to climb up into the second overall position, in exchange for two firsts and a one-second round draft pick. Football fans know Manning's status, but for Leaf, he became one of the biggest draft busts ever.
Bears Land Khalil Mack For Beans
Khalil Mack was a fan favorite for the black and silver, and this trade was a clear win for the Bears. It drastically improved their defense. The Raiders received four draft picks for Mack, including two first-rounders, but that still isn't enough.
In Chicago, Mack had over 10 sacks and six forced fumbles, becoming the leader of the NFL's best defense. All the best to Mark Davis who will have to find his replacement as soon as possible to keep his fans happy.
Browns Help Eagles Draft Carson Wentz
In 2016, the Browns had the second overall pick of the draft. But, in true Clevland fashion, they swapped picks with the Eagles. The Browns ended up with Corey Coleman and DeShone Kizer, terrible trade for Cleveland.
As for the Eagles, they selected Carson Wentz with the second pick. The quarterback would emerge as an MVP candidate, and likely would have won had he not torn his ACL late in the 2017 season. It's a good thing he has so many years ahead of him.
Oakland Lands Mike Haynes
Throughout the seventies and eighties, Mike Haynes was a dominant cornerback. He was one of the few standouts who played for a struggling Patriots franchise. Haynes would be named to six Pro Bowls during his tenure in New England.
However, the team shipped him to the Los Angeles Rams during the 1983 season for two draft picks. Haynes continued to show his dominance with the black and silver, reaching a Super Bowl title along the way. Now, he's enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Bears Trade For Rick Mirer, Because Of Course They Do
The Seattle Seahawks were in need of a franchise quarterback. They selected Norte Dame alum Rick Mirer with the second selection in 1993. Mirer struggled endlessly in his four years there.
When the Bears saw something in him, they swung a deal with the Seahawks. Chicago acquired the quarterback for a 1997 first-round draft pick. Mirer would play one disastorous season in the Windy City. As for the Seahawks, they used that pick to select future Pro Bowl cornerback Shawn Springs.
Bucs Hand 49ers Steve Young
In 1984, Tampa Bay selected Steve Young in the Supplemental Draft. The lefty never developed in Florida, which is why he was traded to the 49ers in 1987, receiving four draft picks in return.
From that point on, Young became Joe Montana's understudy and eventually took over the starting role in 1991. He would help the team win a Super Bowl with two MVP awards along the way. Young kept the dynasty going, and eventually was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ricky Williams Failed His Teat In The Big Easy
New Orleans had their eyes set on drafting Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams. The Saints gave up all of their 1999 draft selections, along with first and third-round picks in 2000 for him.
After two seasons, the team sent Williams to the Dolphins before the 2002 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, the Redskins move around the draft board and ended up with cornerback Champ Bailey. Plus, they selected a standout linebacker, LaVar Arrington.
Patriots Gift 49ers Jerry Rice
The 49ers knew it was crucial to find Joe Montana another great pass-catcher. At the 1985 Draft, the 49ers made sure to get Jerry Rice when they traded two draft choices to the Patriots to move up.
New England used those picks Trevor Matich and Ben Thomas, none of whom became impact players. As for Rice, he led the 49ers to three Super Bowl championships and retired as the all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Brett Favre Heads To Lambeau Field
The Atlanta Falcons drafted the Hall of Famer with the 33rd pick in 1991. Then coach Jerry Glanvile was never sold on Favre, though. After his rookie year, the quarterback was shipped to the Green Bay Packers for the 19th pick of the 1992 draft.
The Falcons selected Tony Smith, who totaled over 300 rushing yards in three seasons with the team. Well, for Favre, just about every football fan knows what he did. Even with stops in New York and Minnesota, he's still one of the greatest of all-time.
John Elway Didn't Want To Be A Colt
The Baltimore Colts drafted quarterback John Elway with the first overall pick in 1983. Elway's issue was that he had zero interest in playing for the blue and white. So, the Colts traded away Elway to the Denver Broncos in exchange for Chris Hinton and Mark Herrmann.
The deal would be a significant franchise change for the Broncos while the Colts regressed until Peyton Manning came along. Elway would go on to win two Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998.