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NFL | May 16

Quarterback Blockbusters: The Most Impactful Trades in NFL History

Quarterback Blockbusters: The Most Impactful Trades in NFL History
Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns -Nick Cammett/Getty Images/AFP

NFL’s Most Headline-Grabbing Trade Deals in Recent Memory

The man under center pulling the trigger can make or break an entire franchise so when a trade involves a quarterback there can be seismic repercussions. Let’s explore the NFL trade news that made the biggest headlines in recent years.

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Aaron Rodgers

  • April 26th, 2023
  • Packers to Jets

Aaron Rodgers has wanted a ticket out of town since the Packers had the audacity to plan for the future by drafting Jordan Love in 2020. How dare they?!

He finally got his wish but the Packers also realized the market was not exactly jumping for a 39-year-old quarterback who was coming off the worst full season of his professional career.

Rodgers, as well as a first and fifth-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, was traded to the Jets for a first, second, and sixth-round pick in the 2023 draft, and a conditional second-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Green Bay essentially swapped first-round picks with the Jets and got a second-rounder this year – and maybe another second next season – for the man, the myth, and the legend who has precisely one Super Bowl ring during his nearly 20-year career.

Deshaun Watson

  • March 18, 2022
  • Texans to Browns

The Browns decided that sending a king’s ransom for a quarterback with more baggage than Samsonite was a capital idea. And so it was that they traded their first-round draft picks in 2022, 2023, and 2024, as well as their third-round pick in 2023, along with fourth-round picks in 2022 and 2024 for Deshaun Watson and the Texans’ 2024 sixth-round draft pick.

I’m not exactly sure who the silver-tongued negotiator on the Browns’ side was who wrangled that sixth-round pick out of Houston but what a coup! Oh, and after Cleveland was fleeced, they rolled up the Brinks truck and handed Watson a guaranteed five-year, $230 million deal. That pact also included Watson’s litany of sexual assault allegations. Woo-hoo, such a deal!

The Browns went 3-3 under Watson after he returned from an 11-game suspension where he tossed 7 touchdowns to 5 interceptions for 1,102 yards in six games for Denver last season.

Russell Wilson

  • March 16, 2022
  • Seahawks to Broncos

Mortgaging the future for the man who will bring a team to the promised land is often worth the trade. But when a team intends to stand idly by in the early rounds of the NFL Draft for seasons to come and that quarterback doesn’t deliver, well, let’s just say there will be an entire front office on the firing line.

And that is precisely what could happen in Denver if 34-year-old Russell Wilson doesn’t markedly improve from his debut season in Mile High. The Broncos traded two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock (a 2nd round pick in 2019), defensive lineman Shelby Harris, and tight end Noah Fant (1st round pick in 2019) for the mercurial, polarizing, and somewhat odd Russell Wilson.

Wilson had 16 passing touchdowns to 11 interceptions for 3,524 yards in 2022 for Denver.

Matthew Stafford

  • March 18, 2021
  • Lions to Rams

They say the best deals are those where both leave happy. But the very best deals are those where both remain happy. And such is the case for the Lions, in the midst of an eternal rebuild, when they sent quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Rams for LA quarterback Jared Goff, a 2021 third-round pick, and two first-round picks in 2022 and 2023.

Well, the Rams went on to win the Super Bowl and those who bet on NFL games know that the Detroit Lions are now favored to win the NFC North for the first time since Vince Lombardi picked up a football.

@nfl just so impressive #matthewstafford #superbowl #SBLVI #rams @rams ♬ Purple Maze – Lalinea

Although LA was spectacularly disappointing last season, regardless of what happens going forward, no one can take that Super Bowl title away.

Nick Foles

  • March 10, 2015
  • Eagles to Rams

This trade amounted to pretty much nothing for both teams involved. The only reason I put Nick Foles’ name in the headline, and not the man the Eagles received for him, Sam Bradford, is because Foles miraculously returned to Philly and won a Super Bowl with them during the 2017 season.

Take A Look At These Other 2 NFL Trades Articles

Officially, the trade was Foles, the Eagles’ 2015 fourth-round pick, and their 2016 second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Sam Bradford and a 2015 fifth-round pick. It’s like the new recipe your mom tried out on the fam and it was met with a collective look of confused ambivalence.

Neither team did much under either quarterback and Sam Bradford, the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, went on to play nine forgettable seasons before hanging up the cleats in 2018 as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

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