Biggest in-season NFL trades of the past decade

There was a time — it seems so long ago — when the NFL trade deadline was a snoozer.

But the past two weeks have seen Carlos Hyde and Amari Cooper, among other veterans, change addresses.

How does the trade deadline look now compared to the long-ago history of, say, 2016 and earlier? Check out the most notable deals of the past decade:

Note: This story was originally posted in October 2017. It has been updated for the 2018 season.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 2017

From: New England Patriots
To: San Francisco 49ers
For: 2018 second-round draft pick

Rarely in NFL history has a midseason trade carried such wide-ranging implications. The Patriots shipped out their presumed quarterback of the future, clearing the way for Tom Brady to remain as starter indefinitely. The 49ers lucked into a premium passer who was ready to play immediately, redirecting their plan to pursue veteran Kirk Cousins in free agency. (Cousins went on to sign with the Minnesota Vikings.) Garoppolo was so impressive in a five-start audition that the 49ers signed him to a contract extension in spring 2018 that fully guarantees him nearly $50 million. An ACL tear ended his 2018 season after three starts, but this trade changed the fortunes of three franchises in a way that NFL deals rarely do.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, 2017

From: Carolina Panthers
To: Buffalo Bills
For: 2018 third- and seventh-round picks

The 28th pick of the 2014 draft, Benjamin is the kind of big receiver every team covets. The Bills had traded away Sammy Watkins two months earlier, and they hoped Benjamin would be an effective but ultimately less expensive replacement. He has fallen short of that goal, having caught only 30 passes and two touchdowns in 13 games over two seasons, but in his defense, the Bills’ quarterback troubles would have made it difficult on any receiver.

Jay Ajayi, RB, 2017

From: Miami Dolphins
To: Philadelphia Eagles
For: 2018 fourth-round draft pick

The Dolphins seemed eager to part ways with Ajayi, a 24-year-old former 1,000-yard rusher. The Eagles were happy to oblige, even if their primary return will be in the short term. Ajayi averaged 5.8 yards per carry over seven regular-season games and rushed for 57 yards on nine carries in the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory. He will miss the final 12 games of the 2018 season because of a torn ACL, and his contract will expire next spring.

Jamie Collins Sr., LB, 2016

From: New England Patriots
To: Cleveland Browns
For: 2017 third-round compensatory pick

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.

Kyle Van Noy, LB, 2016

From: Detroit Lions
To: New England Patriots
For: Exchange in draft slot — the Patriots gave the Lions a sixth-round pick in exchange for a seventh-round spot

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 has 6.5 sacks over 27 games with the Patriots.

Sam Bradford, QB, 2016

From: Philadelphia Eagles
To: Minnesota Vikings
For: 2017 first-round pick and 2018 fourth-round pick

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 were 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. The Eagles used the first-round pick (No. 14 overall) to take defensive end Derek Barnett.

Percy Harvin, WR, 2014

From: Seattle Seahawks
To: New York Jets
For: 2015 sixth-round pick

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 wide receivers. In the end, the Seahawks were lucky to have simply removed his contract from their books and gotten something in return 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.

Aqib Talib, CB, 2012

From: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To: New England Patriots
For: 2013 fourth-round pick; Patriots also received a 2013 seventh-round 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, and now plays with the Los Angeles Rams. The Buccaneers used the fourth-round pick to draft defensive lineman William Gholston.

Carson Palmer, QB, 2011

From: Cincinnati Bengals
To: Oakland Raiders
For: 2012 first-round pick and 2013 second-round pick

The Bengals made off well in this deal, getting two high draft picks for a player who was threatening to retire 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: 2011 third-round pick; Vikings also received 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.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, 2010

From: Buffalo Bills
To: Seattle Seahawks
For: 2011 fourth-round pick and 2012 fifth-round pick

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 in offensive lineman Chris Hairston and linebacker Tank Carder, 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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