The trade Ron Wolf made with Atlanta to bring Brett Favre to Green Bay was one of the best, if not the best, in franchise history.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph
I remember the day when I first heard that the Green Bay Packers gave up a first round draft pick in a trade for a quarterback by the name of Brett “Favray” – I’m sure you may also remember where you were on that day.
I was working in Dahlie’s Hardware store when my boss told me … “who?” I asked incredulous at the news. “For a first-rounder? Are you kidding me?”
That was the reaction I heard all over town and all over what was then the mode of news distribution – the radio and TV.
Well, we all know how that turned out. Not bad for the Packers and not so good for the Atlanta Falcons who’s officials at the time looked like geniuses. With that first-rounder the Falcons selected running back Tony Smith, who was with the team for three seasons. Favre went on to rewrite just about every passing record in the NFL books
So, on this day when we all see is news about Derrelle Revis and his impending trade from the New York Jets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we try to put things into perspective with a recounting of some of the memorable trades made in the past.
In addition to the Favre to Green Bay trade, there have been many others that have left an imprint on the NFL through the years – busts who have left teams crippled for years and boons who have gone on to either Hall of Fame or Hall of Fame-caliber careers.
For the Packers, one of the most crippling was the 1974 trade with the San Diego Chargers that brought quarterback John Hadl to Packers News. The Packers gave up first-, second- and third-round choices in the 1975 draft, and a first and second round choice in 1976. At the time the Packers traded for Hadl, he was 34 years old and on the last rung of his career. The Packers wouldn’t recover from the trade for nearly a decade.
Also consider the Herschel Walker from the Dallas Cowboys to the Minnesota Vikings trade that helped build the Cowboys Super Bowl teams of the early 1990s. The Vikings gave the Cowboys six draft picks which resulted in these players eventually landing in Dallas: running back Emmitt Smith (first round 1990), wide receiver Alexander Wright (second round 1990), defensive tackle Russell Maryland (first round 1991), wide receiver Alvin Harper (first round 1991), linebacker Dixon Edwards (second round 1991), linebacker Robert Jones (first round 1992), cornerback Kevin Smith (first round 1992) and safety Darren Woodson (second round 1992). The Cowboys fans and management thank the Vikings to this day.
What about the Marshall Faulk trade that sent him to the Rams from the Colts in 1999? St. Louis received Faulk from the Colts in exchange for second- and fifth-round picks which turned out to be linebacker Mike Peterson and defensive end Brad Scioli. Though the Colts drafted Edgerrin James with their first round selection that year, he didn’t duplicate what Faulk did for the Rams.
Baltimore Ravens running back Ricky Williams (34) runs the ball at Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (71) in the fourth quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
And should we mention Ricky Williams? Oh OK. Mike Ditka, coach of the New Orleans Saints, gave away the team’s entire 1999 draft as well as a first and third round selections in 2000 to earn the right to draft Williams. Though none of the picks given up amounted to much, neither did Williams while in New Orleans. The trade was more an exercise in futility than anything else.
While there are many, many other trades that have been made through the years that have either benefitted or hurt teams, these are the main trades that come to mind.