There was a time — it seems so long ago — when the NFL trading deadline was a snoozer.
What does the trade deadline usually look like? Here are 10 of the most notable, if minor, in-season deals of the past 10 years:
Collins was a talented, if enigmatic, playmaker whom the Patriots decided to seek value for, rather than face the looming expiration of his contract. They ultimately traded the pick they received, No. 103 overall, for veteran receiver Brandin Cooks. The Browns signed Collins to a four-year, $50 million contract extension; they are hoping he will be a cornerstone of their turnaround, but to this point, the Browns are 1-12 in the games he has played with them.
Sometimes, what appear to be minor deals end up making a big difference. Van Noy, a second-round pick in 2014, had largely disappointed the Lions. But the Patriots saw a role for him in their scheme. He is tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks this season. He also has been credited with 55 tackles, second on the team.
The Eagles capitalized on the desperation of the Vikings, who had just lost starter Teddy Bridgewater to a catastrophic knee injury, to replenish their own coffers. Four months earlier, they had moved up in the 2016 draft to select quarterback Carson Wentz. (The ensuing Bradford trade technically occurred during the preseason, but the official ruling body of ESPN lists has approved its inclusion here.) The Vikings acquired Bradford knowing they might need him for 2017, as well.
Results have been mixed. The Vikings were 7-8 in his starts, even as Bradford set an NFL record by completing 71.6 percent of his passes. His acquisition took on greater value when Bridgewater’s recovery extended into the 2017 season. But wear and tear in Bradford’s chronic left knee has limited him to two starts. His future with the team is in doubt.
The Eagles, meanwhile, have an MVP candidate in Wentz and used the first-round pick (No. 14 overall) to take defensive end Derek Barnett.
The Seahawks’ decision to dump Harvin, whom they had given up a first-round pick and two other selections to acquire in 2013, marked a stunning fall for a player who had been one of the NFL’s most explosive. In the end, the Seahawks were lucky to have simply removed his contract from their books and get something in compensation for him. Harvin played in eight games for the Jets, totaling 460 all-purpose yards, before being released in March 2015. The Seahawks went on to employ the sixth-round pick as part of a package they used to trade up and draft receiver Tyler Lockett.
Trent Richardson, RB, 2013
From: Cleveland Browns
To: Indianapolis Colts
For: 2014 first-round draft pick
This trade was an absolute fleecing, a foolish deal consummated by the Colts out of desperation. Richardson had scored 11 touchdowns in his rookie season but did not have the playmaking ability expected from a No. 3 overall pick. New Browns CEO Joe Banner jumped at the chance to trade him two games into his second year. The Colts wanted Richardson to replace injured starter Vick Ballard, but he averaged only 3.1 yards per carry over the next two seasons before they parted ways. His last regular-season game appearance came in 2014. The Browns used the draft pick as part of the deal to trade up and draft quarterback Johnny Manziel in 2014. That selection didn’t work out, but the Browns had still managed to parlay a punchless running back into a valuable pick.
The Bucs parted ways with a talented but troubled player who was in the final year of his contract and unlikely to remain in Tampa after free agency. The Patriots’ pass coverage ranked No. 30 in the NFL at the time, and their secondary had been crushed by injuries. Talib helped the Patriots to a division title in 2012 and earned 2013 Pro Bowl honors after signing a one-year contract to remain with the team. He moved on to the Denver Broncos in 2014. The Buccaneers used the fourth-round pick to draft defensive lineman William Gholston, who remains a part-time starter.
The Bengals made off well in this deal, getting two high draft picks for a player who was threatening retirement rather than resume his career with them. They had already drafted and played his replacement, Andy Dalton, and were able to turn the picks into cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and tailback Giovani Bernard. The Raiders, meanwhile, went 8-16 in Palmer’s 24 starts over two seasons before trading him to the Arizona Cardinals. While Bengals fans might have chosen Palmer over Dalton for the past seven seasons, Palmer simply wasn’t willing.
Randy Moss, WR, 2010
From: New England Patriots
To: Minnesota Vikings
For: Third-round pick in 2011. Vikings received a seventh-round pick from Patriots.
This trade ostensibly reunited Moss with his original franchise to give quarterback Brett Favre a deep threat after an injury to Sidney Rice. Instead, Moss clashed almost immediately with coach Brad Childress and caught only 13 passes in four games before Childress released him. The Vikings fired Childress three weeks later. The Patriots used the third-round pick to select quarterback Ryan Mallett, their backup for three seasons before they traded him to the Houston Texans in 2015.
With Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller on their roster, the Bills had the luxury of parting ways with Lynch. He had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge in 2009 and admitted to driving off after striking a female pedestrian with his car in 2008. In Seattle, however, he grew into a cult figure for an elite team. He helped the Seahawks win the 2010 NFC West title, capping it with the “Beast Quake” run in the wild-card playoff round. Then from 2011 to 2015, he rushed for 5,774 yards and 51 touchdowns in helping the Seahawks to one Super Bowl victory and an appearance in another. The Bills used the draft picks to select a pair of players — offensive lineman Chris Hairston and linebacker Tank Carder — who are still active in the NFL but were modest contributors for the Bills.
Roy Williams, WR, 2008
From: Detroit Lions
To: Dallas Cowboys
For: 2009 first-, third- and sixth-round picks
The deal did little for the Cowboys in the short term or long term, but it helped the Lions rebuild from a season that would end 0-16. In 40 games over three seasons, Williams caught a total of 94 passes with Dallas. The Cowboys reached the playoffs once in his tenure but lost in the wild-card round. The trade not only included a bounty of draft picks but also a five-year contract extension for Williams that included $20 million in guarantees. The Lions took the picks and selected, among other players, tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
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