The top ten in-season trades, as told by the NFL Network. As I’ve said before, even a blind pig roots up a nut every now and then. Whereas many lists are contrived to generate controversy and viewership, they did a decent job this time. Of course, there was an obvious number one.
13. Jets trade Belichick to the Pats for a draft pick.
12. Pats trade Bill Parcells to the Jets for draft picks.
11. Owner Robert Irsay traded his Rams to Carroll Rosenblum for the Colts. Not sure if these trades 11, 12, and 13 happened during the season.
10. Pats trade holdout WR Deion Branch to Seahawks
9. Browns trade RB Trent Richardson to Colts, where he blossoms.
8. Bengals trade Carson Palmer to Raiders. Cincy thought he was washed up. He wasn’t.
7. Bobby Layne leads Lions to three NFL championships, then Detroit trades him to the Steelers. On his way out of town Layne puts a curse on the team, saying they won’t win a playoff game for 50 years. They don’t, and in year 50 the Lions go 0-16.
6. During that 0-16 season the Lions trade record-breaking WR Roy Williams to Dallas, where he is paired with WR Terrell Owens. It doesn’t work out. But the Lions use the draft pick to start their rebuild.
5. Rams trade 35 year old QB John Hadl to the Packers for five draft picks. Hadl flops.
4. Bills trade thousand yard rusher Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks to make room for two talented backs. A good deal for Seattle.
3. Pats trade holdout DB Mike Haynes to the Raiders, vaulting LA to a Super Bowl win over Washington. Haynes goes on to make the hall of fame.
2. Eric Dickerson wanted a raise, so the Rams traded him to the Colts. A good deal for Indy.
1. Dallas trades Herschel Walker (& four high round draft picks) to the Vikings for 5 players and 8 low round draft picks: three #1 picks, three #2 picks, and two #3 picks. The Cowboys parlayed the picks into Pro Bowlers Emmitt Smith, Alvin Harper, Russell Maryland, and Darren Woodson – and several Super Bowl wins. It was the largest trade in NFL history. In his first two plays for the Vikings Herschel runs back a kickoff 53 yards, then breaks off another 50 yard run from scrimmage, losing his shoe in the process. That Herschel was nothing after the trade is hogwash. Head coach Jerry Burns had not wanted Walker, who was never allowed to mesh into the Vikings’ system. Herschel went on to play for the Giants, Eagles, and Cowboys, retiring with the second-most combined yards in NFL history. After this trade teams started hoarding draft picks and acquiring players via free agency instead of trading them.
Observation: many photos of Herschel with the Vikings show him not wearing gloves, though photos of Walker with the Cowboys show him with gloves.