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Most Significant Trades In NFL History

The biggest NFL trades of all-time are league altering. It can be a career defining moment for a Hall of Famer or it can be a mistake from a franchise looking to contend, depriving themselves of draft assets.

Biggest NFL Trades Of All-Time

NFL offseason moves are examined in forensic detail. There’s good reason, too. Even an ultra-talented core can be undone by poor trades or misjudged free agent signings.

Here are five of the most significant, influential trades in NFL history…

Chiefs land Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes might be the most talented quarterback in NFL history. He’s already done it all.

Mahomes’ biggest NFL contract of all-time and his Chiefs are synonymous. It could so nearly have not been the case, however, if Kansas City had stuck at 27th instead of trading with the Buffalo Bills to land the 10th overall pick.

The Chiefs also gave up a 2018 first and a third-rounder in the deal. It has proven to be a bargain, but it’s not just significant on the Chiefs’ side.

Buffalo will be more than happy with their return, and they still ended up with a franchise quarterback when they traded up to draft Josh Allen 12 months later.

Elway forces his move

Selected by the Baltimore Colts in the 1983 NFL Draft, John Elway was a college star ready to light up pro football. The trade itself, though, was an almighty gamble by the Colts as Elway had already made it clear he didn’t want to play for them.

Elway stuck to his word. He refused to take the field for Baltimore, pushing himself onto the trade block. The Denver Broncos acquired Elway for Mark Herrmann, Chris Hinton and a first rounder in the following draft.

It’s fair to say this was one of the greatest NFL trades ever made – Elway took the Broncos to five Super Bowls and won two of them.

Cowboys fleece Vikings

The Herschel Walker trade was chaos. The Dallas Cowboys landed eight draft selections from the Minnesota Vikings, including five across the first two rounds.

San Diego got in on the action, picking up Darrin Nelson for a fifth-rounder, while Dallas got four players on top of the draft haul. This, one of the biggest NFL trades, set the Cowboys up for a Super Bowl winning roster.

Given that this trade happened in 1989, it wasn’t good news for the Vikings that Walker was playing for the Eagles by 1992. Many believe this is the most one-sided NFL trade ever.

Read more: Top Prospects of the 2021 NFL Draft

Win-Win For Faulk

When the Colts dealt Marshall Faulk to the St Louis Rams, it looked an even trade. It turned out to be just that.

Indianapolis got second and fifth-round picks, and used their first rounder in the following draft to pick up another running back to make up for Faulk’s departure.

St Louis had no regrets with giving up just a couple of picks for Faulk either. He quickly became an elite threat, and his presence allowed Kurt Warner to run the ‘Greatest Show On Turf’. Faulk and the Rams won the Super Bowl, with Faulk landing the MVP honours in the following regular season.

Patriots Add Hall Of Fame WR

The New England Patriots were already a dynasty in 2007. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, it turned out, were just getting going, but when they added Randy Moss in a trade with the Oakland Raiders, the league was shaken.

Moss and Brady together was terrifying for opposing defenses. They were right to be scared. New England went 18-0 on their way to a Super Bowl loss with Moss breaking an NFL record with 23 touchdown receptions.

It might not have ended in a ring, but this is unquestionably one of the greatest trades in NFL history.