Trades are a huge part of sports, some are caused by a player’s value being too high not to cash in on, some are led by disgruntled players or teams and sometimes someone just needs a change of pace. It is natural to compare these players and ask the question of who got the best out of this deal. Sometimes it is clear who wins; sometimes however it is a little bit more of a debate. Following the huge trade between the Dolphins and the Texans, we check out the winners and losers of that trade and check out 5 historic trades that had some big winners and some even bigger losers.
Everything is bigger in Texas
Houston Texans receive – Laremy Tunsil (LT), Kenny Stills (WR), a 2020 4th Round selection and a 2021 6th Round selection
Miami Dolphins receive – Johnson Bademosi (CB), Julien Davenport (LT) a 2020 1st Round selection, a 2021 1st Round selection and a 2021 2nd Round selection.
This trade was blockbuster, a monster trade which are not as often in major sports as you would think. Before we break down this trade lets work out who has got who in terms of players so far. So, from the trade Houston received Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills, they also received the 111th pick from Miami which they then traded back to Miami for the 136th and 141st. They then traded the 136th pick to move back up to 126th to select Charlie Heck (OT). The 141st pick they kept and selected John Reid (CB).
Miami received Johnson Bademosi and Julien Davenport; they also received the 26th pick in the 2020 draft. They traded this pick to Green Bay for the 30th pick and the 136th pick. With the 30th pick they selected Noah Igbinoghene (CB). The 136th was then traded alongside the 141st pick back to Houston, and they selected Solomon Kindley (OG) at pick 111. Right now, we have this all-in hand, let’s get into who came out better in this trade.
The Texans got themselves a Franchise Left Tackle who is a ferocious player, however they had to give up a whole lot to get him. Mortgaging their future in the process, one player does not make a franchise. This has been proven this season as they sit at 4-9 through 13 games and look to be on a downward trajectory. John Reid and Charlie Heck haven’t really had a chance to make an impact yet, however they are still having a bigger impact that Kenny Stills this year, who is currently without a team.
Miami got a huge amount of potential from this trade, but not as much actual capital in the initial trade. Bademosi has since moved onto the New Orleans Saints, Davenport and Kindley are regular contributors on the offensive line and Igbinoghene is playing in the defensive backfield in bits. The trade was more of a culture change for Miami however as coach Brian Flores was changing how the Franchise looked. Collecting Draft picks was an important part of this, and with multiple picks in the first round of 2020 and 2021 the Dolphins could be looking at big things in the future. Miami are currently sat at 8-5 with draft picks galore, this Franchise is on the up and is a direct result of this trade.
Winner – Miami Dolphins
Bledsoe runs to the Bulls
Buffalo Bills receive – Drew Bledsoe (QB)
New England Patriots receive – 1st Round Pick – Daniel Graham (TE)
This one has two layers to it, because if we look at it purely based on players traded then Buffalo have the edge as they received an excellent Quarterback, whilst New England received a Tight End with the first-round selection who while he found the endzone 15 times in his 4 years in Foxborough, he never posted over 500 yards in a season.
To properly analyse this trade however you have to look while this trade was made, New England had been under Tom Brady for just over a year and they already knew that they had a potential star. They realised Bledsoe was done as the starter but because they pulled the trigger on a trade quickly and knowing good starting Quarterbacks are like unicorns in the NFL, they managed to turn a backup Quarterback into a first-round pick.
The Bills received a quality player; however, they did not return to the playoffs under Bledsoe, whilst New England became a modern-day dynasty with 5 Super Bowl championships in the years following the trade. In the four years that Graham played in New England, he managed to get himself 2 Super Bowls.
Winner – New England Patriots
San Francisco gets Young-er
San Francisco 49ers receive – Steve Young (QB)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers receive – 2nd Round Pick – Winston Moss (OLB) and 4th Round Pick – Bruce Hill (WR)
If you look up mismatched trade in the dictionary, there is a picture of Steve Young holding up his new 49er’s jersey. In 1987 the 49ers traded away a 2nd and a 4th round pick to bring in Steve Young, a man who had been okay in a very underwhelming Bucs team. Learning under the tutelage of Joe ‘Joe Cool’ Montana, Steve Young got better and better. This led to him winning 3 Super Bowls in San Francisco, one of which was done as the starting Quarterback in 1994. He also added 2 MVP awards to his rings and an Offensive Player of the Year award too.
With their picks the Buccaneers picked up Winston Moss and Bruce Hill. Moss spent 4 seasons in Tampa and managed a total of 10.5 sacks during this time. Bruce Hill played 1 more season than his draft mate, lasting his entire career in the NFL until 1991. He faired slightly better breaking 1000 yards in his second year, being given the honour of his team’s best player. In this time Tampa did not have a winning season, and in each of the 5 seasons posted 10 or more losses each year.
At the time of the trade, Young had not had the chance to show his full potential in Tampa Bay so it may have seemed like a good trade to make. This was compounded in the eyes of the Bucs fans when they selected Vinny Testaverde with the number one pick as his replacement. When we look back however, we see a very different story. San Francisco got a franchise Quarterback, a multiple time Super Bowl winner and a Hall of Famer. Tampa Bay managed 2 winning seasons in the 14 that Steve Young made the league his home.
Winner – San Francisco 49ers
Trading the Viral Sensation
Philadelphia Eagles receive – Terrell ‘T.O’ Owens (WR)
San Francisco 49ers receive – 5th Round Pick – Isaac Sopoaga (DT)
What has not been said about T.O in his career, the man was controversy personified, but he always backed it up by being an excellent receiver. He was a star in San Francisco however Owens worked to his own script and he decided it was time to leave. He was traded to the Eagles for a 5th Round Pick and continued where he left off with 1200 yards in his first season in Philly. This was pretty much the highlight of his time with the Eagles as the relationship soured quickly. T.O has a personality as big as his ego, and after 2 years, the ego won, and he was released.
The 49ers initially looked like the losers here, drafting a defensive tackle with the pick in Isaac Sopoaga. Unremarkable pick for a soon to be unremarkable team, the 49ers would go 2-14 in the year that T.O left, however that was in fact the low point. A steady climb from there, Sopoaga ended his time in San Francisco with back-to-back seasons above 10 wins, including a Super Bowl appearance in his final season.
Judging this trade is always interesting, actually most of Terrell Owens’ storied career is interesting. It is easy to get caught up in the mystique of T.O, however for the purpose of this piece, we are only analysing the trade. The Eagles then got a great player, who became a problem and lasted 2 years in Philadelphia. The Niners on the other hand solidified their defensive line for the next 8 years with a player who did not set the league alight but was part of the slow rise that San Francisco experiences back to the top.
Winner – San Francisco 49ers
Draft day Shenanigans
New York Giants receive – Eli Manning (QB)
San Diego Chargers receive – Philip Rivers (QB)
Sticking with the 2004 season, we get one of the best trades in history and something almost unheard of on draft day. Eli Manning was drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers, however he refused to play for the Californian Franchise. Working with the New York Giants, San Diego agreed to trade the number 1 overall pick for the number 4 overall pick, Phillip Rivers.
Eli Manning spent 15 years with the New York Giants and 14 of these he was the unquestionable starter. His time with the team however ended with a whimper as the Franchise went 4-12 and after week 2, he has lost his starting job to Rookie Daniel Jones. Throughout his time with the Giants Manning made the playoffs 6 times and won 2 Super Bowls taking down the Patriots dynasty both times and looking unstoppable in these games. His career however seemed to always show the rough with the smooth, leading the NFL 3 times in only one offensive category, most interceptions.
Phillip Rivers was traded to the Chargers after Manning’s refusal to call San Diego his home. Rivers took over the starting job in San Diego in 2006 and finished his career after 15 years with the team making the playoffs 6 times. Similar to his counterpart, Rivers led the league twice in interceptions, however he also managed to lead the league in yards, touchdowns and completions throughout that time. The biggest mark on Rivers career, although it is still technically going so this may change, is that he never even played in a Super Bowl.
This is a more difficult pick that it may seem, because based on their careers many members of the media credit Rivers with being the better Quarterback, however Manning made the playoffs the same amount of times and he managed to win it all twice. Both played for excellent coaches and had some incredible players around them, and although it is close, the edge has to go to the accolades.
Winner – New York Giants
The beginning of the Brady Backup effect
Kansas City Chiefs receive – Matt Cassel (QB) and Mike Vrabel (LB)
New England Patriots receive – 2nd Round Pick – Patrick Chung (SS)
Where do we even begin on this one, when people talk about blockbuster trades it usually has to include some big names, huge amounts of picks in the upcoming draft or controversy. This one however is a huge trade for the implications it brought into the consciousness of fans from all over the league. Let’s discuss the Brady backup effect.
The 2008 season so something that until that time have thought to be unheard of, Tom Brady was out for the season. The Patriots upgraded his back up Matt Cassel to starter and the team managed to go 11-5 losing the division to the 11-5 Dolphins, but a season that was still successful. Following one good season, the Chiefs decided to come after the player, expecting this form to continue.
Cassel’s first season in KC finished with a 4-12 record however Cassel played well, and he followed up the next season by making the playoffs off of the back of a 10-6 record. This of course looked good for a Franchise who wanted to start building themselves into contenders. Following a first-round defeat to the Ravens the wheels came of the Cassel wagon falling to 7-9 and 2-14 in the next two seasons equalling the record Cassel was brought in to fix. In his next 7 seasons, Cassel would play for 5 different teams, only posting a plus turnover differential once.
The player the Patriots got using the traded pick was Patrick Chung, a three-time Super Bowl champion, and although he never made the Super Bowl, Chung was one of the most feared, hardest hitting safeties in the league. The Patriots hit on this pick, but honestly, they could have picked anybody here and probably still won this trade. The Brady effect has led to further Quarterbacks being seen as Franchise players by merely backing up the elite signal Caller.
Winner – New England Patriots.