Tag Archives: trades

Don’t let the facts get in the way of . . .

Everybody loves a good story. But you can’t love it so much — as a journalist, at least — that you don’t do your due diligence and verify, verify, verify.

One such story got some play on Twitter and elsewhere a few days ago. This was after Ikemefuna Enemkpali, the Jets’ rookie linebacker, cold-cocked starting quarterback Geno Smith and broke his jaw. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt, who’d dealt with a similar episode during his Cowboys days in the ’70s, tweeted the following: 

(Over 3,000 retweets, folks — for those of you scoring at home.)

Longley brandishes his clippings after the '74 Redskins game.

Longley brandishes his clippings after the ’74 Redskins game.

There’s only one problem: It ain’t true. For starters, nobody in 1976, not even the wily Brandt, was going to — presto chango — trade Longley for the second pick in the next draft. The kid had had a stellar small college career at Abilene Christian, sure, but he was still an unknown quantity who’d thrown just 44 passes in his two NFL seasons, completing less than half of them (19). He had, however, flashed in a 1974 Thanksgiving Day game against the Redskins, coming off the bench to throw two touchdown passes to rally the Cowboys to a memorable 24-23 win. That, and his Dallas pedigree, were what gave him some market value.

But hardly No. 2-overall-pick market value. The deal Brandt brokered actually went like this: Dallas sent Longley and its 1977 first-rounder (24th) to San Diego, and the Chargers forked over their first (14th) and second (41st) selections in the same draft. Got it? The Cowboys came away with a second-rounder and moved up 10 spots in Round 1.

The trade, then, wasn’t really Longley for Dorsett. It was Longley for a couple of the chips Brandt needed to pry the No. 2 pick away from the Seahawks. Dorsett ended up costing Dallas their young QB plus four prime selections: the first- and second-rounders acquired from San Diego and two other seconds — 30th (which came from Buffalo for defensive end Pat Toomay) and 54th (the Cowboys’ own choice) overall. That 30th choice, I’ll just remind you, would be a first-rounder today.

Peter King wrote about the Longley-Staubach scuffle in his Wednesday mailbag. And to his credit, he acknowledged:

“The details in the Cowboys story are a little fuzzy now. Brandt’s recollection differs from the memory of some Cowboy players in a Matt Mosley story for the Dallas Morning News a decade ago. Brandt recalls Longley and Staubach getting into a fight after a training-camp practice in California in 1976, Longley riding Staubach about it being time for him to retire (he was 34 in that training camp), and Staubach saying if he wanted to discuss it, they’d discuss it after practice on an adjacent field. They fought then, and later, in the team’s locker room in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Brandt recalls Longley trying to hit Staubach in the head with a folding chair — just like in the old days of professional wrestling. The players recalled the fight to Mosley, but not the chair. They say that Longley cheap-shotted Staubach when he wasn’t looking in the locker room.

This is not in dispute:

“After it happened,” Brandt said Tuesday night, “Tom Landry called. He wanted Longley traded  immediately.” Brandt, within a day, had Longley dealt to San Diego.

Not in dispute? It most certainly is in dispute — the “within a day” part, that is. Longley wasn’t traded for nearly three weeks (18 days to be exact). But “within a day” sounds so much more dramatic, doesn’t it?

On Aug. 25, 13 days after Longley jumped Staubach, The Associated Press reported:

Longley has been on the trade marts for almost a month, but Landry said, “We’ve had offers for him, but they weren’t good enough to consider. It’s possible he won’t play anywhere this year.”

Landry also added, “I never write off conciliation.”

It wasn’t until Aug. 30, when teams were beginning to set their final rosters, that the Chargers, still not sold on future Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, decided they needed Longley as quarterback insurance. (In their defense, Fouts was 5-20-1 as a starter at the time and had a career passer rating of 56.)

A year later, with the legendary Dorsett rushing for over 1,000 yards as a rookie, Dallas won its second Super Bowl. By then Longley was out of the league, never to return. Brandt’s version of events make for quite a tale, but it’s only that — a Texas-sized whopper honed, no doubt, in press boxes and hospitality suites over the decades. Clint Longley slugged Roger Staubach when he had his head turned, and 24 hours later I traded the SOB for Tony Dorsett. How much more brilliant can a personnel man get?

Unfortunately for Brandt, we have the Internet now, and it’s harder to get away with these fish stories — except on websites that are either too understaffed, too overworked or too trusting to double-check basic facts.

Sigh.

(Sorry, I’m just not a print-the-legend guy. When the legend becomes fact, I begin to worry about the fate of civilization.)

Source: pro-football-reference.com, prosportstransactions.com.

Trading one QB for another

Chip Kelly, the Eagles’ iconoclast/coach, was at it again on the first day of free agency. He swapped a quarterback for a quarterback, Nick Foles for the Rams’ Sam Bradford. Talk about something that Just Isn’t Done.

Or rather, it hasn’t been done very often in recent years. The risk is just to great — the risk of looking like a dummy if the QB you traded turns out to be better than the QB you got in return.

Here’s a factoid that might surprise you: Only 10 quarterbacks in NFL history have posted a passer rating of 110 or higher in a season. Three of them have been traded within two years of one of those seasons — while still in their 20s.

Foles, of course, is the latest. The details:

Daunte Culpepper

Daunte Culpepper

● Milt Plum, Browns — Had a rating of 110.4 in 1960, a league record at the time (and phenomenal for that era, which was much more hit-or-miss in the throwing department). Traded to the Lions in ’62. (Particulars below.) Age: 27.

● Daunte Culpepper, Vikings — Put up a rating of 110.9 in 2004. Dealt to the Dolphins in ’06 for a second-round pick (after blowing out his right knee the season before and asking to be traded). Age: 29.

● Nick Foles, Eagles — Posted a rating of 119.2 in 2013, the third highest of all time. Sent to the Rams in 2015. Age: 26.

But let’s get back to the topic du jour: quarterback-for-quarterback trades. They always cause such a stir, don’t they? Look at all the syllables that have been expended discussing the Foles-for-Bradford swap. And yet, none of these deals has resulted in an NFL title for either side (though one did lead to an AFL title). The more notable QB-for-QB exchanges over the decades:

● 1980 — The Raiders’ Ken Stabler for the Oilers’ Dan Pastorini.

I covered this trade in a recent post about one-for-one player swaps. Both quarterbacks were nearing the end, but Houston thought Stabler might have enough left to get the franchise to its first Super Bowl. Alas, he didn’t. Pastorini, meanwhile, broke his leg in Oakland, but that merely opened the door for Jim Plunkett (and brought the Raiders two more rings).

Winner*: Oilers (not that the Raiders suffered any when they lost Pastorini).

*We’re just comparing the QBs here. In most cases, other players and/or draft picks were involved in the trades.)

Morton card● 1977 — The Giants’ Craig Morton for the Broncos’ Steve Ramsey.

Morton looked like he might be through after winning just two of 12 starts the year before. But he revived his career in Denver, guiding the Broncos — with the help of their famed Orange Crush defense — to the Super Bowl in his first season. Ramsey, an utterly forgettable QB, was cut by the Giants in training camp.

Winner: Broncos.

● 1976 — The Packers’ John Hadl for the Oilers’ Lynn Dickey.

Hadl’s two seasons in Houston — his final two seasons — were spent mostly as a backup behind Pastorini. He was, after all, 36. But Dickey, a decade younger, had his best years in Green Bay. In the ’82 strike season he quarterbacked the Packers to their only playoff berth in two decades (1973-92). The next season he led the league in touchdown passes (32) and passing yards (4,458).

Winner: Packers.

● 1972 — The Giants’ Fran Tarkenton for the Vikings’ Norm Snead.

In 1967 Tarkenton was traded to the Giants for the kitchen sink. Five years later he was traded back to the Vikings for slightly less than the kitchen sink. His second term in Minnesota was more fruitful. The Vikings went to three Super Bowls (though they didn’t win any), which cemented his status as a Hall of Famer. Snead went to the Pro Bowl in his first season in New York but was shipped to San Francisco in Year 3.

Winner: Vikings.

● 1967 — The Bills’ Daryle Lamonica for the Raiders’ Tom Flores.

In Buffalo, Lamonica was stuck behind Jack Kemp, who had taken the Bills to three straight AFL championship games (and two titles). He blossomed in Oakland, going 36-4-1as a starter in his first three seasons (which ended with one loss in the Super Bowl and two in the AFL championship game). Flores, better remembered for coaching the Raiders to two titles, threw just 74 passes in Buffalo before winding up his career in Kansas City.

Winner: Raiders.

Snead card● 1964 — The Eagles’ Sonny Jurgensen for the Redskins’ Norm Snead.

Amazingly, Snead was swapped not once but twice for a Hall of Fame quarterback. And while he may not have been Canton material himself, he wasn’t a bad player at all — as his 196 TD passes attest. (When he retired after the 1976 season, he was tied with Bobby Layne for 10th on the all-time list.) But Jurgensen helped resurrect the Washington franchise, which had fallen on hard times in founder George Preston Marshall’s final years. He was also one of the purest passers pro football has seen.

Winner: Redskins.

● 1962 — The Browns’ Milt Plum for the Lions’ Jim Ninowski.

This deal, which I mentioned earlier, didn’t amount to much. I include it, basically, because of Ninowski’s classic response when he got the news. Jim, you see, had been drafted by the Browns in 1958 before being packed off to Detroit, where he’d finally gotten a chance to play. He was far from happy, initially, about returning to Cleveland.

“I’m pretty disgusted,” he said. “I have no intention of going to Cleveland. I’ll quit football if I have to. You get tired of being tossed around like a toy.”

Ninowski did go to Cleveland, though, and started seven games in ’62 (Paul Brown’s last year as coach). He spent five more seasons with the Browns as the No. 2 guy behind Pro Bowler Frank Ryan. As for Plum, the Lions went 11-3 with him the first year — the third best record in the league — but things went sharply downhill thereafter.

Winner: Lions. (Let’s not forget, Milt also could kick field goals.

● 1958 — The Lions’ Bobby Layne for the Steelers’ Earl Morrall.

The trade reunited Hall of Famer Layne with Buddy Parker, who’d quit as Detroit’s coach previous year and moved to Pittsburgh. Bobby didn’t add to his ring collection (two) with the Steelers, but he did bring the club some much-needed credibility (in the form of three winning seasons). Morrall, just a third-year player, was nothing special in Detroit, but he had some nice moments late in his career with the Colts (1968, ’70) and Dolphins (’72, their perfect season).

Winner: Steelers.

Garrett card● 1954 — The Browns’ Bobby Garrett for the Packers’ Babe Parilli.

What a wacky tale this is. Garrett was the first pick in the 1954 draft (making him that year’s Sam Bradford). The Browns took him on the assumption Otto Graham, their legendary QB, was close to retirement. (Graham wound up playing through ’55.) But get this: Coach Paul Brown traded Garrett to Green Bay before he’d even reported to training camp.

Why? One theory is that Brown didn’t realize on draft day that Bobby was looking at a two-year military hitch following his graduation from Stanford. And indeed, the young quarterback spent the 1955 and ’56 seasons in the Air Force. Here’s the thing, though: Parilli, the fourth pick in ’52, was already in the service — and wasn’t discharged until ’56. So who really knows what was going through PB’s mind?

When Garrett rejoined the Packers in ’57, Brown reacquired him. Guess who he sent to Green Bay as (partial) payment? Parilli. That’s right, Bobby and Babe were traded twice for each other. But here the story gets even stranger. It turns out Garrett had a speech impediment: he stuttered. Brown had no patience for it — and ridiculed him on the practice field mercilessly. He was convinced it would keep Garrett from becoming an effective quarterback, hindering his play calling and especially his ability to check off at the line.

Paul Wiggin, the future Chiefs coach and a teammate of Bobby’s, said in 2012: “It was just a misunderstanding of what stuttering was. It didn’t solve the problem, it enhanced the problem.”

Before the preseason was over, Garrett decided to retire and join his father in the real estate business in California. Such was life in the days before the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Winner: Tie. (Neither club benefited much.)

So ends our Brief History of Quarterback-for-Quarterback Trades. Let me know if I’ve left out any good ones. As you can see, they’re better at generating noise than generating championships, though a few have had a significant impact.

Sources: pro-football-reference.com, prosportstransactions.com.

One-for-one trades

LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso.

Trades don’t get any more stripped-down than that, do they? My guy for your guy — period. No draft picks. No throw-in players to balance the scales. No contingencies of any kind. Just . . . one for one. May the best man win.

You forget how unusual these deals are, especially since the advent of free agency. Teams don’t need to trade for players anymore — not as much, anyway. They just have to wait for their contracts to expire. Draft choices, not live bodies, have become the most popular form of currency. They get swapped and swapped and swapped some more until nobody can remember who got traded for what.

Which is probably how general managers prefer it. Who wants to be reminded, year after year, of the boneheaded move he made when he traded X for Y? When you exchange picks for players, there can be much more of a smoke-and-mirrors effect. Keeping track of those can be like that scene in Chinatown when Jake Gittes pores over the real-estate transactions in the Hall of Records. (“So that’s who the Bucs ended up getting for the guy — Jasper Lamar Crabb!”)

So the McCoy-Alonso deal is notable for two reasons: first, because the Eagles willingly traded an in-his-prime running back, one who won the NFL rushing title in 2013; and second, because they received not draft selections from the Bills but an outside linebacker, arguably the league’s top rookie two years ago (before he blew out his knee and missed last season).

A straight-up swap of Known Players. What a novelty.

Naturally, I felt compelled to put together a list of other memorable one-for-one trades in NFL history. You may have other favorites, and I welcome additions, but here are 10 that come to mind:

10 STRAIGHT-UP, PLAYER-FOR-PLAYER TRADES

● 2005 — WR Laveranues Coles from the Redskins to the Jets for WR Santana Moss.

Santana Moss snares one vs. the Lions.

Santana Moss snares one vs. the Lions.

This was one of the weirder deals. Coles, after all, had left the Jets after the 2002 season to play in Steve Spurrier’s “Fun ’n’ Gun” offense in Washington. But Spurrier quit a year later, Joe Gibbs returned for a second term as coach and Laveranues decided he’d be happier back in New York. So the Redskins exchanged him for Santana Moss — and were they ever glad they did. Over the next decade, Moss caught 581 passes for 7,867 yards and 47 touchdowns. Coles played four more seasons with the Jets before they cut him and had 289 receptions for 3,439 yards and 24 TDs.

Winner: Redskins.

● 1989 — RB Earnest Byner from the Browns to the Redskins for RB Mike Oliphant.

Byner needed a change of scenery after his crushing fumble in the 1987 AFC title game, which followed him around in Cleveland wherever he went. The Browns obliged by sending him to Washington for Oliphant, the Redskins’ super-speedy third-round pick in ’88. Byner had two 1,000-yard seasons in D.C., went to two Pro Bowls and was the leading rusher on the 1991 championship team. Oliphant touched the ball exactly 25 times in Cleveland (playoffs included) before his career petered out.

Winner: Redskins.

● 1984 — RB James Brooks from the Chargers to the Bengals for FB Pete Johnson.

Brooks, a situation back behind Chuck Muncie in San Diego, blossomed in Cincinnati, making four Pro Bowls and retiring as the Bengals all-time leading rusher with 6,447 yards — a total surpassed only by Corey Dillon’s 8,061. (He also was a terrific receiver and ferocious blocker, as Boomer Esiason can tell you.) Johnson, more the sledgehammer type, had had some fine years in Cincy, but at 30 he was pretty used up. He played just one more NFL season — and just three games with San Diego before being dealt to the Dolphins, who needed a short-yardage guy for their ’84 Super Bowl run.

Winner: Bengals.

● 1980 — QB Ken Stabler from the Raiders to the Houston Oilers for QB Dan Pastorini.

Ken Stabler

Ken Stabler

Stabler was 34, Pastorini 31, and neither had much left. The Oilers were hoping The Snake, coupled with Earl Campbell, would finally get them to the Super Bowl, but he threw 28 interceptions in 1980, second most in the league, and had two more picks in the first round of the playoffs as Houston lost to — of all people — Oakland. By then, Pastorini had suffered a broken leg and been replaced by Jim Plunkett, who quarterbacked the Raiders to the title (and to another in 1983).

Winner: Oilers (though neither team got what it was looking for).

● 1977 — QB Ron Jaworski from the Los Angeles Rams to the Eagles for the rights to TE Charle Young.

Jaworski, a three-year veteran, had thrown only 124 NFL passes when Philadelphia acquired him for the unsigned Young, who had already been to three Pro Bowls. Charle never went to another. Jaworski, meanwhile, led the Eagles to four straight playoff berths (1978-81) and one Super Bowl.

Winner: Eagles.

● 1976 — WR Charlie Joiner from the Bengals to the Chargers for DE Coy Bacon.

In 1976, Joiner had yet to emerge as a Hall of Fame receiver (totals for seven seasons: 164 catches, 2,943 yards, 18 touchdowns). Bacon was probably considered the better player because of his pass-rush ability (in the days before the NFL kept track of sacks). Well, Charlie wound up in Canton after being teamed with Dan Fouts and Don Coryell in San Diego, where he racked up 586 more receptions. But Coy, let’s not forget, had two Pro Bowl years in Cincinnati before being traded to the Redskins (with CB Lamar Parish) for a first-round pick.

Winner: Chargers (but both clubs made out well).

● 1965 — WR Tommy McDonald from the Cowboys to the Los Angeles Rams for P-K Danny Villanueva.

Yup, the Cowboys swapped a Hall Fame receiver — admittedly, a 31-year-old one — for a punter-kicker. But keep in mind: They had just added Bob Hayes to the roster and figured they were in good shape at wideout. McDonald had 1,036 receiving yards in his first season with the Rams, third most in the league, and was voted to his sixth and last Pro Bowl. He followed that with another solid year (55-714-2) in ’66 before moving on to the Falcons. Villanueva filled a void in Dallas but was just an ordinary kicker (longest field goal with the Cowboys: 42 yards) and didn’t punt as well as he had in L.A (40.4-yard average vs. 44.3).

Winner: Rams.

● 1965 — CB Fred “The Hammer” Williamson from the Raiders to the Chiefs for CB Dave Grayson.

Fred Williamson cardOn the surface, it seemed like a fair trade: the mouthy Williamson, a three-time AFL All-Star, for Grayson, also a three-time AFL All-Star. Grayson was two years younger, though — 26 to Fred’s 28 — and had more of his career ahead of him. Williamson did help Kansas City get to the first Super Bowl in 1966, but Grayson helped Oakland get to the second Super Bowl in ’67 and led the AFL in interceptions the next year. By then, Freddie was out of football and on the verge of becoming a Hollywood action star.

Winner: Raiders.

● 1961 — QB Y.A. Tittle from the 49ers to the Giants for DL Lou Cordileone.

It’s easy, from a distance, to laugh at this trade, but Tittle was almost 35 and Cordileone had been the 12th pick in the previous year’s draft. Besides, San Francisco was experimenting with a shotgun offense, which required a quarterback who could run, and Y.A. certainly didn’t fit that description. At any rate, he had an amazing Second Act in New York, guiding the Giants to three straight championship games (all, alas, losses), while Cordileone bounced from the Niners to the Rams to the Steelers to the expansion Saints to oblivion.

Winner: Giants.

● 1960 — CB Night Train Lane from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Lions for K Gerry Perry.

Another swap of a Hall of Famer for a kicker! It just shows how much importance teams were beginning to place on the kicking game. Lane, though 32, was far from done. He went to three more Pro Bowls with Detroit and intercepted 21 more passes (to finish with a total of 68). Perry had a nice first season in St. Louis (13 field goals, tying him for fifth in the league) but was well below average after that.

Winner: Lions.

You can see how dangerous these player-for player trades can be. Many of the deals were one-sided, sometimes ridiculously so. The McCoy-for-Alonso swap — which will be official next week, when the 2015 business year begins — might also prove regrettable for one side or the other. We’ll know better in a season or two.

Note: The famous Sonny Jurgensen/Norm Snead trade in 1964 isn’t listed because it involved two other players. The Redskins also got DB Jimmy Carr in the deal, and the Eagles got DB Claude Crabb (no relation to Jasper Lamar). Granted, it was essentially a Jurgy-for-Snead swap, and fans always looked at it that way, but Crabb had intercepted six passes a rookie and, entering his third season, could have made up for the imbalance between the quarterbacks. (He didn’t.)

Sources: pro-football-reference.com, prosportstransactions.com

After a stunning trade, LeSean will be doing his running for the Bills next season.

After a stunning trade, LeSean McCoy will be doing his running for the Bills next season.

“Bullet” Bill Dudley returns

Saw an interesting note in The Dallas Morning News the other day about DeMarco Murray’s impending free agency:

Should Murray suit up in a different uniform next year, he would become the first player since Bill Dudley to lead the NFL in rushing and start the following season with another team. Dudley moved from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Detroit Lions in 1947.

Sixty-eight years. Now that’s a long time.

It’s also a story — Dudley’s escape from the Steelers to the Lions — that’s worth telling. “Bullet Bill” is, after all, a Hall of Famer. On top of that, there was no free agency back then, and it was rare that a player muscled his way off one club and onto another, as he did.

But let’s backpedal a bit and start at the beginning. In 1947 Dudley was coming off an extraordinary season, one that saw him win the MVP award playing for a .500 team. Not only was he the league’s rushing leader, he also, well, check out his numbers:

BILL DUDLEY’S 1946

Category Details
Rushing 146 attempts* for 604 yards* (4.1 average) and 2 touchdowns
Passing 32 completions in 90 attempts for 452 yards and two TDs
Receiving 4 catches for 109 yards and 1 TD
Punt returns 27* for 385 yards* (14.3 average*)
Interceptions 10* for 242 yards* and 1 TD*
Punting 60 for a 40.2 average
Kicking 2 field goals, 12 extra points

*led league

For all-around excellence, you won’t find many seasons like it. There was only one problem: Dudley didn’t feel like he was built for such heavy use. He was only 5-10, 182 pounds, you see, and the Steelers’ single-wing attack was a punishing, grind-it-out style of football. Remember, too, that this was the era of two-way players, so he got beat up playing defense as well as offense.

To make matters worse, the team’s coach, Jock Sutherland, was a legendary taskmaster. Sutherland’s training camps were hell, and even his in-season practices could test a man’s limits. (“There will be only two kinds of men on the Pittsburgh Steeler[s] roster this fall,” Bob Drum of the Pittsburgh Press wrote during camp, “– those who are in shape and those who are dead.”)

After the season, Dudley announced his retirement, but it was just a ploy to get the Steelers to trade him to a T-formation team, one that wouldn’t make him carry so much of the load. As he later explained: “I felt playing 50-to-55 minutes in just about every game did not give a man a chance to give his best. It’s detrimental physically.”

Dudley cardYou can imagine how receptive the NFL was to this kind of thinking in 1947. Self-preservation? The very idea! So the Steelers shipped him to the Lions for two backs (Bob Cifers and Paul White), the rights to another (Bob Chappuis, the 26th selection in that year’s draft, who never played for Pittsburgh) and Detroit’s No. 1 pick in ’48.

After the deal was done, Sutherland gave his version of events — and savaged Dudley in the process. “I know for a fact a few of the boys would not have returned to the squad if Bill had rejoined us this year,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When they heard the news that he had signed with the Detroit Lions, one of them remarked, ‘Well, Detroit got itself another coach.’”

During the ’46 preseason, when Sutherland was working his players to death (and putting oatmeal in the water so it wouldn’t taste as good and they wouldn’t drink as much), Dudley complained to the assistant coaches, according to Jock. “[He] went too far in his remarks to my assistants, and when I say too far I mean just that. I heard what he said to them, and I reprimanded him in front of the full squad as I would have with any other player. He didn’t like it, of course, but said, ‘Yes, sir,’ and I thought the matter was dropped.

“That night he wanted to leave the camp. There was a conference and he changed his mind. No more was said about it during the season, and he did everything asked of him, although some of the players to the end resented his bossy attitude.”

Can you imagine a coach today unloading on a former player like that? And again, this is a Hall of Famer he’s talking about. Dudley had played two full seasons in the NFL and been the league’s top rusher both years.

Besides, it’s not like Dudley didn’t have a point. The single wing did take more of a toll on you (never mind the toll extracted by Sutherland’s maniacal training methods). The Bears’ George Halas, one of the fathers of the modern T, tried to impress this on Steelers owner Art Rooney a few years later. “The single wing takes too much out of your players, Art,” he said. “You do kick the hell out of the opposition physically, but the opposition is still getting the points and beating you. Remember, the other team takes that beating once; your team takes it every week.”

To twist the knife a little more, Sutherland told the Post-Gazette, “Dudley begged to rejoin the Steelers when he heard a deal was being made for him with [struggling] Detroit. He was sorry over what happened and wanted to come back in the worst way, but I think it is better for all concerned the way things are now.”

The Steelers went 8-4 without Dudley the next season, tying for first in the Eastern Division. (The Eagles beat them in a playoff to advance to the title game.) But their success was short-lived. Sutherland died of a brain tumor the following spring, and the franchise scuffed along until the late ’50s, posting a winning record just once.

As for Dudley, he was right to dread going to Detroit. In his three years there, the Lions won just nine games (though he remained a valuable and versatile player). He tried to return to Pittsburgh as a backfield coach in 1952 — after spending two seasons with the Redskins — but Washington owner George Preston Marshall, unconvinced Bullet Bill would stay retired, wanted too much in compensation. (And sure enough, Dudley returned to the game, primarily as a kicker, after sitting out a year.)

This brings us to the final, delicious part of our story: the first-rounder the Steelers got from the Lions for Dudley. It wound up being the third pick in the ’48 draft, and they used it to select an All-American quarterback from Texas – a fella by the name of Bobby Layne. Alas, Layne didn’t want to play in Pittsburgh’s single wing any more than Dudley did. So, rather than risk losing him to the rival All-America Conference, the Steelers sent him to the Bears for a player who better fit their offense, Kansas tailback Ray Evans.

Evans showed promise as a rookie, but that was the extent of his NFL career. To the Steelers’ shock, he turned his back on a $20,000 salary and took a job with a Kansas City bank. The probable reason, the Post-Gazette reported, was that he’d recently been “married to Edith Marie Darby, daughter of Harry Darby, wealthy Kansas City industrialist and Republican National Committeeman for Kansas. It is thought his wife may have objected to his pro grid competition.”

Layne, of course, went on to lead the Lions to two titles en route to the Hall of Fame. (What might have been.) He did finish his career with the Steelers, but he was in his 30s by then and didn’t have nearly as much talent around him.

So ends the tale of The Last NFL Rushing Champ To Start The Following Season With Another Team. DeMarco Murray can’t possibly top this, can he?

Trading draft picks for coaches

There were more reports over the weekend that the 49ers might trade Jim Harbaugh after the season — perhaps to the Raiders, perhaps to some other desperate team. If it happens, it’ll be fascinating to see what the going rate is for a top coach. After all, Harbaugh has guided his club to the NFL’s Final Four three years running; the list of guys who’ve done that isn’t very long.

I’ve dug up nine cases of head coaches being dealt for draft picks — all since the 1970 merger. The moral of the story seems to be this: If you think you’re going to get much in return for a coach, you’re kidding yourself. Pennies on the dollar is more like it. The coaches generally do well with their new teams, but the picks are another matter.

By my count, these nine coaches have been traded for a total of 19 selections — five first-rounders, five second-rounders, five third-rounders and four later-rounders. The vast majority of them are/were utterly forgettable players who did little to improve the club that drafted them. Indeed, only two were ever voted to the Pro Bowl — DE Shaun Ellis and KR Leon Washington, once each. (Ellis made it a second time as an alternate.)

A breakdown of the 10 deals:

● 1970 — Don Shula from the Colts to the Dolphins for a 1971 No. 1 (22nd overall). Shula took Miami, then a fifth-year franchise, to five Super Bowls, winning two. He’s now, of course, in the Hall of Don McCauley cardFame.

Who the Colts drafted: RB Don McCauley, who rushed for 2,627 yards in his 11 seasons in Baltimore, many of them as a short-yardage back.

● 1978 — Don Coryell from the Cardinals to the Chargers for a 1980 No. 3 (81st). Coryell returned San Diego to relevance with his Air Coryell offense and led the Chargers to back-to-back AFC title games (1980-81). He’s been a semi-finalist for Canton the last four years.

Who the Cardinals drafted: LB Charles Baker, who spent his entire 8-year career with St. Louis and started 62 games.

● 1997 — Bill Parcells from the Patriots to the Jets for four picks. Parcells turned a 1-15 Jets team into an AFC finalist in two seasons.

Who the Patriots drafted:

1999 No. 1 (28th) — LB Andy Katzenmoyer: 13 starts in two seasons, 3.5 sacks.

1998 No. 2 (52nd) — WR Tony Simmons: nine starts in three seasons, 56 catches.

1997 No. 3 (61st) — RB Sedrick Shaw: one start in two seasons, 236 rushing yards.

1997 No. 4 (97th) — OG Damon Denson: four starts in three seasons.

● 1999 — Mike Holmgren from the Packers to the Seahawks for a 1999 No. 2 (47th). Holmgren guided Seattle to its first Super Bowl and fielded six playoff teams in 10 seasons.

Who the Packers drafted: DB Fred Vinson. Vinson spent one year in Green Bay, then was sent to Seattle (and old friend Holmgren) in exchange for RB Ahman Green. So if you want to look at it that way — that the Packers got Green for Holmgren — go ahead. Injuries kept Vinson from playing a single down for the Seahawks. Green, on the other hand, went to four straight Pro Bowls in Green Bay and set a franchise record by rushing for 1,883 yards in 2003.

(Note: Holmgren also was traded for a second-round pick in 1992, when the Packers hired him. But he was the Niners’ offensive coordinator then, not a head coach.)

● 2000 — Bill Belichick from the Jets to the Patriots for three picks (the Pats receiving two lower selections as change). In New England, Belichick has

Shaun Ellis

Shaun Ellis

finished what Parcells started, transforming the Pats into the Team of the 2000s. Under him, they’ve won three Super Bowls, lost two and appeared in eight AFC championship games.

Who the Jets drafted:

2000 No. 1 (16th) — The Jets moved up to 12 to get Ellis, a mainstay at LDE for 11 seasons.

2001 No. 4 (101) — DB Jamie Henderson: three seasons, one start, one interception.

2001 No. 7 (206) — DE James Reed: five seasons, 32 starts, seven sacks.

● 2001 — Marty Schottenheimer from the Chiefs to the Redskins for two picks. Schottenheimer lasted just one season in Washington, going 8-8 (with eight wins in his last 11 games). Owner Dan Snyder fired him after trying — and failing — to get Marty to replace one of his assistants.

Who the Chiefs drafted:

2001 No. 3 (77th) — WR Snoop Minnis: two seasons, 34 catches, one touchdown.

2002 No. 3 (84th) — You’ll love this: They sent the third-rounder to the Rams as compensation for coach Dick Vermeil, who took the Kansas City job in ’01. So you had one pick being used two acquire two different coaches.

● 2001 — Vermeil from the Rams to the Chiefs for two picks. Vermeil posted a 44-36 record in his five seasons in K.C. but failed to win a playoff game.

Who the Rams drafted:

2001 No. 2 (42nd) — LB Tommy Polley: four seasons, 49 starts, four interceptions.

2002 No. 3 (84th) — RB Lamar Gordon: two seasons, 526 rushing yards.

● 2002 — Jon Gruden from the Raiders to the Bucs for four picks and $8 million. With Gruden — complemented by a great defense — Tampa Bay went to its first Super Bowl in ’02 and blew out Oakland. He didn’t win another playoff game with the Bucs, though, and was dumped after seven seasons with a barely-over-.500 record (60-57).

Who the Raiders drafted:

2002 No. 1 (21st) — CB Phillip Buchanon (after trading up to 17): three seasons, 11 INTs.

2002 No 2  (53rd) — OT Langston Walker: five seasons, 33 starts.*

2003 No. 1 (32nd) — DE Tyler Brayton: five seasons, six sacks.

2004 No. 2 (45th) — C Jake Grove: 5 seasons, 46 starts.

*Returned to Raiders for two more seasons (2009-10) at the end of his career.

● 2006 — Herman Edwards from the Jets to the Chiefs for a 2006 No. 4 (117th). Edwards went due south in his three years in Kansas City – 9-7, 4-12 and 2-14.

Who the Jets drafted: Washington, who in four seasons rushed for 1,782 yards and returned four kickoffs for TDs.

And now there’s a chance Harbaugh may be on the market — though everybody’s denying, denying, denying at this point. The thing is, 12 years ago, the Bucs were insisting they wouldn’t give up draft picks for Gruden, as you can see here:

Jan. 22, 2002 AP story

Jan. 22, 2002 AP story

Three weeks later, the deal got made.

"I'm not angry. I'm not yellin'."

“I’m not angry. I’m not yellin’.”

Sources: pro-football-reference.com, prosportstransactions.com.

Buried in the Champ Bailey file

Champ Bailey, who retired earlier this week, will be remembered for a lot of things. For his 12 Pro Bowls with the Redskins and Broncos. For his 52 interceptions (one less than Deion Sanders). For making us wonder: What would have happened if he’d become a full-time receiver, like Roy Green, instead of remaining at cornerback?

But I’ll remember him for something else, too: for being part of the wheeling and dealing by Redskins general manager Charley Casserly in the late ’90s that turned one first-round pick into three. Actually, it was even better than that. Casserly and successor Vinny Cerrato turned the sixth pick in 1996 into the seventh pick in ’99 (Bailey) and the second and third picks in 2000 (linebacker LaVar Arrington and offensive tackle Chris Samuels).

Casserly’s maneuvering tends to be forgotten today because the Redskins never won anything — except a division title when Champ was a rookie. But it could have been franchise-changing if Sean Gilbert football cardother personnel moves had worked out as well (and, of course, if Dan Snyder hadn’t bought the club and started treating it as his personal toy).

Here’s how it unfolded:

● April 4, 1996 — The Redskins, coming off a 6-10 season, send their first-rounder (sixth overall) to the Rams for DT Sean Gilbert, who’d gone to the Pro Bowl in 1993. The Rams selected RB Lawrence Phillips, who was a total disaster.

● Feb. 12, 1997 – The Redskins franchise Gilbert, who proceeds to sit out the season in a contract dispute.

● Feb. 11, 1998 – The Redskins franchise Gilbert again.

● March 24, 1998 – The Panthers sign Gilbert to a 7-year, $46.5 million offer sheet. The Redskins decide not to match it and receive two No. 1s as compensation. Carolina opts to delay payment for a year, pushing the picks into 1999 and 2000.

● April 17, 1999 – After a 4-12 season, the Panthers’ first-rounder turns out to be the fifth overall pick. The Redskins trade it to the Saints in the infamous Ricky Williams deal. What they get in return:

1999 No. 1 (12th overall) — Traded to Bears (see below).

1999 No. 3 (71st) — Traded to Bears (ditto).

1999 No. 4 (107th) — LB Nate Stinson.

1999 No. 5 (144th) — Traded to Bears in move-up to take OT Jon Jansen in Round 2.

1999 No. 6 (179th) — Traded to Broncos in move-up to take OT Derek Smith in Round 5.

1999 No. 7 (218th) — Traded to Broncos in Smith deal.

2000 No. 1 (2nd) — Arrington.

2000 No. 3 (64th) — DB Lloyd Harrison.

Later in the draft, the Redskins flip picks with the Bears, move up to 7 and select Bailey. This costs them:

The Saints’ ’99 No. 1 (12th) — QB Cade McNown.

The Saints’ ’99 No. 3 (71st) — WR D’Wayne Bates.

Their own No. 4 (106th) — LB Warrick Holdman.

Their own No. 5 (143rd) — OT Jerry Wisne.

Their own 2000 No. 3 (87th) — TE Dustin Lyman.

● April 15, 2000 – The Redskins hit the jackpot. The Saints go 3-13 in ’99, the last of Mike Ditka’s three seasons, so the No. 1 they owe Washington is second overall. The Panthers finish 8-8, so the first-rounder they have to hand over is 12th. By this time, Cerrato has replaced Casserly as the Redskins’ GM. He swaps Carolina’s pick, along with his own No. 1 (24th), for the 49ers’ No. 1, third overall. Then, amid much fanfare, he takes Arrington at 2 and Samuels at 3.

(FYI: The Jets wind up with the 12th pick after a trade with San Francisco and select DE Shaun Ellis. The Niners keep the 24th and use it on CB Ahmed Plummer.)

And there you have it, folks. The Redskins started out with the 6th pick in ’96, and with a little imagination — and more than a little luck — ended up with three selections in the top seven. Those three selections, moreover, went to a combined 21 Pro Bowls (Bailey 12, Samuels 6, Arrington 3).

But again, nobody remembers because it didn’t lead to anything great (or even very good). The Redskins won only one division title in the next decade (1999) and made just three playoff appearances (2004 and ’07 being the others). In 2003, when Joe Gibbs returned as coach, they dealt Bailey to the Broncos for running back Clinton Portis, who had some fine years in Washington but ran into injury problems and was done at 29. Arrington also battled injuries — and left in free agency in 2006. He was done at 28. Samuels lasted a few seasons longer, until he was 32, but his career also was cut short by injury.

Bailey, on the other hand, survived 15 seasons and was voted to his last Pro Bowl at 34. With his lengthy list of accomplishments, he’s a lock for the Hall of Fame. As for the Redskins, well, some things look better on paper than they do in real life.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Chris Samuels and LaVar Arrington on Draft Day 2000.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Chris Samuels and LaVar Arrington on Draft Day 2000.

Sources: pro-football-reference.com, prosportstransactions.com, various Sporting News Football Guides and Registers.

Memorable midseason trades

Wish there were more trades like the one that sent Percy Harvin from the Seahawks to the Jets, if only to liven things up during non-game days. The NFL, unfortunately, is different from other sports. Baseball, basketball and hockey are veritable swap meets at times, but rarely is there a deal during the pro football season that attracts much attention — or has much impact, really.

Part of it is that the deadline falls so early (though it’s been pushed back to the Tuesday of Week 9 — October 28 this year). Another part is that the salary cap limits clubs’ ability to add and subtract players. Then, too, there’s a playbook to be learned. You can’t plug a quarterback into your lineup as easily as you can a right fielder.

The early deadline is an anachronism dating to the days when weaker teams would unload salaries late in the season to cut their losses (thus becoming even weaker teams, which did nothing for the young league’s image). The latter is no longer an issue, of course — it’s hard to lose money in the NFL — and the former, as I said, is problematical because of the cap. So why not extend the deadline to, say, December 1? It would enable contending clubs to address weaknesses created by injuries and help the also-rans stockpile draft picks for rebuilding. Win-win.

The only thing teams would have to do to create a more lively in-season trade market is hold some money back — that is, not spend to the cap. But I doubt there’ll ever be much support for a later deadline because, well, owners don’t think like you and I do.

The Harvin deal motivated me to compile a list of 10 notable midseason trades. I’m not going to suggest these are the 10 biggest midseason trades; I might have overlooked (or underestimated) a few. And if I have, please submit your own nominations. What’s interesting is that none of them took place later than 1990. Since the institution of free agency in 1993, clubs have essentially adopted the attitude of: Why pay for something today that you might be able to get for nothing (except, perhaps, millions of dollars) tomorrow?

10 NOTABLE IN-SEASON TRADES IN NFL HISTORY

● 1938 — TB/QB Frank Filchock from the Pirates (Steelers) to the Redskins for an undisclosed amount of money (and possibly a draft pick).

This was one of those Salary Dumps I referred to earlier. Pittsburgh owner Art Rooney had signed running back Whizzer White to a huge contract, and the team wasn’t winning. So in mid-Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 5.56.41 PMOctober he got rid of several players, including Filchock, a promising single-wing tailback who had been the 14th pick in that year’s draft. Frankie had some fine years in Washington as Sammy Baugh’s alternate, then moved to the Giants in 1946 and led them to the championship game. (He’s also remembered for getting caught up in the attempt to fix that game, which caused him to be banned from the league for three seasons.)

● 1958 — QB Bobby Layne from the Lions to the Steelers for QB Earl Morrall, a 1959 No. 2 (OG Mike Rabold) and ’60 No. 4 (DT Roger Brown).

The deal reunited Layne with his old Lions coach, Buddy Parker, who had quit and taken the Pittsburgh job. Bobby played some of his best ball in the second half of that season, as the Steelers finished on a 6-0-1 tear to wind up third in the Eastern Conference. He also gave the perennially losing franchise some much-needed credibility in the late ’50s and early ’60s. His only failure was that he never got Pittsburgh to the title game. Brown, by the way, turned out to be a stud defensive tackle for the Lions, a 300-pounder who went to six Pro Bowls. And Morrall had some great moments with the ’68 Colts and undefeated ’72 Dolphins.

● 1974 — QB John Hadl from the Rams to the Packers for two No. 1s (both Top 10), two No. 2s and a No. 3 in the next two drafts.

Nowadays, three of the picks would be in the first round (8, 9, 28) and the other two in the second (39, 61). This was your basic desperate-for-a-quarterback move by Green Bay. Problem was, Hadl, who’d been a first-team all-pro the season before, was 34, and his best football was behind him. Two years later, the Packers dealt him to Houston for QB Lynn Dickey. Who the Rams drafted with the Hadl picks: DT Mike Fanning, CB Monte Jackson, C Geoff Reece, CB Pat Thomas, C Geoff Reece. Jackson and Thomas went to multiple Pro Bowls. The fifth pick from the deal, a ’76 No. 1, was sent to the Lions as compensation for signing free agent WR Ron Jessie, a Pro Bowler in his first season with L.A.

● 1980 — RB Chuck Muncie from the Saints to the Chargers for a 1982 No. 2.

Muncie was tremendously talented and equally troubled (read: drugs, alcohol), which is why his price was so reasonable. But Chargers coach Don Coryell was assembling a Super Offense

Chuck Muncie

Chuck Muncie

around Hall of Fame QB Dan Fouts and decided to take a chance on Chuck, who had already been to one Pro Bowl (and would go to two others). San Diego made it to the AFC title game in Muncie’s first two seasons, losing to the Raiders and Bengals, but then his demons undid him again and he was packed off to the Dolphins. Who the Saints drafted with the Chargers pick: LB Rickey Jackson, who’s now in Canton.

● 1981 — WR Wes Chandler from the Saints to the Chargers for Nos. 1 and 3 picks in 1982. Chandler was another of Coryell’s offensive additions (along with Muncie and TE Kellen Winslow, San Diego’s first-rounder in ’79). He went to three Pro Bowls with the Chargers, and in the nine-game ’82 strike season averaged 129 receiving yards a game, a record. Who the Saints drafted with the San Diego picks: WR Lindsay Scott (69 career receptions) and DB John Krimm (nine NFL games). In other words, not much.

● 1981 — DE Fred Dean from the Chargers to the 49ers for a 1982 No. 2 and the option to switch No. 1s in ’83.

For instant impact, you won’t find many better deals than this one. Strengthened by Dean’s Hall of Fame pass-rushing abilities, San Francisco went on to win the Super Bowl that season and again in ’84. What’s truly amazing, though, is what happened after San Diego chose to swap first-rounders in ’85 (moving up from 22 to 5 to take LB Billy Ray Smith). The Niners then traded the 22nd selection back to them for two No. 2s (36, 49) and turned them into Pro Bowl RBs Wendell Tyler (via a trade with the Rams) and Roger Craig (via the draft). To recap: Dynasty-bound San Francisco got Dean, Tyler and Craig, and the Chargers got Smith and CB Gil Byrd (the 22nd pick). Nice.

● 1983 — CB Mike Haynes from the Patriots to the Raiders for a 1984 No. 1 and ’85 No. 2.

Haynes, a holdout, didn’t want to re-sign with New England. And when Al Davis finally worked out a trade for him — a tad after the deadline — the league tried to disallow it. But Davis

Mike Haynes

Mike Haynes

ultimately prevailed, and the cornerback combination of Hall of Famer Haynes and Pro Bowler Lester Hayes turned the Raiders defense into a total monster, one that destroyed the Redskins, one of the highest-scoring teams in NFL history, in the Super Bowl later that season. Who the Patriots drafted with the Raiders picks: New England packaged the ’84 No. 1 (28th) with their own (16th) to get the first overall pick and selected WR Irving Fryar, who had a very good 17-year career (most of it with other clubs). The No. 2 brought DB Jim Bowman. Remember, though: The Pats went to the Super Bowl themselves in ’85 — and beat the Raiders in the playoffs to get there.

● 1987 — RB Eric Dickerson from the Rams to the Colts for three No. 1s and three No. 2s spread over the next two drafts, plus RBs Greg Bell and Owen Gill. The trade also involved the Bills, who came away with LB Cornelius Bennett, Indianapolis’ unsigned No. 1 pick that year (and the second overall selection).

What a blockbuster. Dickerson was one of the biggest names in game, a Hall of Famer whose 2,105-yard rushing season in 1984 is still the record. So why did the Rams deal him? Contract issues. In Indianapolis he rejoined his coach at SMU, Ron Meyer, who showcased him the way John Robinson had in Los Angeles. (In other words, this was the running back version of the Layne trade.) Backs tend to have shorter primes, though, and Eric rushed for more yards with the Rams (7,245) than with the Colts (5,194). Still, Indy made the playoffs in ’87 — for the first time since moving from Baltimore – so it’s not like Jim Irsay didn’t get anything out of the trade.

As for the Rams, Gill didn’t gain a single yard for them, but Bell was their leading rusher in 1988 and ’89, when they reached the postseason. Who they drafted with Colts’ and Bills’ picks: RB Gaston Green, WR Aaron Cox, RB Cleveland Gary, LB Fred StricklandLB Frank Stams and CB Darryl Henley. Only Green ever made the Pro Bowl (once), and Henley wound up in prison for cocaine trafficking and other felonious activities.

● 1989 — RB Herschel Walker from the Cowboys to the Vikings for the kitchen sink.

There were enough picks and players involved in this trade – 18 in all, including three No. 1s and three No. 2s – to give you a headache. Dallas’ major acquisitions, through the draft, were RB Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, and five-time Pro Bowl SS Darren Woodson. (The rest were pretty much role players.) As for Walker, he was a disappointment in Minnesota, though the Vikings also got a third-round selection in the deal that they turned into WR Jake Reed, who had four 1,000-yard seasons. With Smith, the Triplets (Troy Aikman-Michael Irvin-Emmitt) were complete, and the Cowboys became the team of the ’90s, winning three Super Bowls in four years.

● 1990 — QB Steve Walsh from the Cowboys to the Saints for Nos. 1 and 3 picks in 1991 and a No. 2 in ’92.

Once Jimmy Johnson decided on Aikman as his quarterback, he auctioned off Walsh, his former University of Miami QB, who he’d taken in the ’89 supplemental draft. The New Orleans first-rounder, which Johnson traded to the Lions, didn’t bring much in return, but the third-rounder, OT Erik Williams, was voted to four Pro Bowls. The second-rounder is the great What Might Have Been. Jimmy used it to move up and draft WR Jimmy Smith, who washed out in Dallas but had 11 tremendous seasons with the Jaguars, catching 862 passes and going to five Pro Bowls. Walsh quarterbacked Saints to the playoffs in ’90, going 6-5 as a starter, but didn’t have many more career highlights.

Sources: pro-football-reference.com, prosportstransactions.com, various Sporting News Football Registers.

Thoughts on the Logan Mankins trade

For me, there are two surprises in the following chart. The first is that only eight rookie tight ends in NFL history have had 50 or more receptions. The second is that every one of them went in the first 40 picks of the draft except for Tim Wright, the guy the Patriots just acquired from the Bucs for six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins. Wright, who played his college ball at Rutgers, was passed over by all 32 teams a year ago.

ROOKIE TIGHT ENDS WHO HAVE CAUGHT 50 OR MORE PASSES

Year  Tight End, Team Rec Yds Avg TD Round-Pick
1988  Keith Jackson, Eagles 81 869 10.7 6 1-13
2002  Jeremy Shockey, Giants 74 894 12.1 2 1-14
1961  Mike Ditka, Bears 56 1,076 19.2 12 1-5
2008  John Carlson, Seahawks 55 627 11.4 5 2-38
1973  Charle Young, Eagles 55 854 15.5 6 1-6
1998  Cam Cleeland, Saints 54 684 12.7 6 2-40
2013  Tim Wright, Bucs 54 571 10.6 5 Undrafted
2010  Jermaine Gresham, Bengals 52 471 9.1 4 1-21

That’s right, no Rob Gronkowski (42 receptions). No Jimmy Graham (31). No Tony Gonzalez (33). No Kellen Winslow Sr. or Jr. (30 combined in their first season). No Shannon Sharpe (7). Maybe this Wright kid is better than we think. (Of course, before today, when the deal was announced, how often did he even cross our minds?)

At the every least, Wright provides low-cost Gronk Insurance in the event the all-world tight end is slow coming back from knee surgery. When No. 87 was out of the lineup last year, the Patriots’ supercharged offense seemed more like a stick shift. Wright also creates significant cap space in case the Pats want to hang onto Darrelle Revis, whose 2015 option is a gargantuan $20 million. Mankins, after all, had the Pats’ second-highest cap number after Tom Brady; Wright, meanwhile, like most undrafted free agents, subsists on gruel.

Still, trading a guard with Mankins’ resumé . . . how often has that happened? Well, I dug up one similar example back in the ’70s. (Which isn’t to say there might not be others.) I also found a couple of guards who were dealt after being voted to five Pro Bowls — and two more who were sent packing after being voted to three. The particulars, chronologically:

Walt Sweeney, Chargers to Redskins (January 1974) — A nine-time Pro Bowler in San Diego (1964-72), Sweeney joined George Allen’s Over the Hill Gang at the age of 33. He started for two seasons in Washington before calling it a career. The Chargers received fourth-, fifth- and sixth-round picks spread over three drafts.

Ed White, Vikings to Chargers (July 1978) — White had made three Pro Bowls in Minnesota and would make another in San Diego. Though already 31, he ended up playing eight more seasons (which Mankins might try to do just out of spite). The Vikes, in return, got Rickey Young, who caught 88 passes in his first year with them, a record for running backs (since broken).

Joe DeLamielleure, Bills to Browns (September 1980) — Hall of Famer DeLamielleure, then 29, had been selected for five Pro Bowls in Buffalo and added a sixth in Cleveland. The Bills came away with second- and third-round picks.

R.C. Thielemann, Falcons to Redskins (August 1985) — Atlanta needed a wideout. Washington wasn’t sold on its right guard. So the 30-year-old Thielemann, a three-time Pro Bowler with the Falcons, was swapped Charlie Brown, who was coming off an injury-marred season after tying for the NFC lead in receptions in ’83. R.C. was just a spoke in the wheel with the Redskins, but he did start on their ’87 championship team.

Kent Hill, Los Angeles Rams to Houston Oilers (September 1986) — This was the trade, two games into the season, that enabled L.A. to obtain the rights to unsigned QB Jim Everett, the third pick in the ’86 draft (who had no desire to sit behind Canton-bound Warren Moon). Hill, part of a mega-package that included DE William Fuller and two No. 1s, was 29 and had gone to five Pro Bowls. He played that year and one more in Houston and then retired.

As for Everett, he didn’t win the Super Bowl in Los Angeles, but after moving to the Saints he did leave us with this memorable clip:

Anyway, yeah, this Mankins trade is extremely rare. I wouldn’t want to be the team that comes out on the short end of it.

Sources: pro-football-reference.com, NFL.com