Top 12 NFL Quarterback Trades of the Past 40 Years – Part 2 (5-8)


Mar 23, 2022

The past two weeks have seen several big-name quarterbacks on the move, with Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and Matt Ryan finding new homes via trade. Hence, those moves got us thinking about other deals involving QBs, including ones that may not have appeared significant at the time but indeed turned out to be. While time will tell how successful these recent transactions will be, here is our second installment featuring the middle pack of the top 12 quarterback trades in NFL history. Feel free to throw the challenge flag and keep an eye out for our final four players on the list tomorrow.5) John Elway Says Buh-Bye Baltimore – 1983

Denver Broncos Receive: QB John Elway

Baltimore Colts Receive: 1984 first-round pick, OT Chris Hinton, QB Mark Hermann

One of the top quarterback prospects in NFL history, Stanford’s John Elway, along with his father, Jack, wanted no part of the Baltimore Colts organization – preferring instead to be closer to the West Coast. Upon being selected by the Colts in 1983, Elway’s father stated his son “will never play for Irsay or Coach Kush.”

Papa Elway was, of course, referring to then Colts owner Robert Irsay, who apparently thought John’s dad was holding a pair of twos instead of a Royal Flush. Elway was not bluffing, and his future Hall of Famer son would never don Colts white and blue for head coach Frank Kush.

The Elways eventually got their wish as Baltimore traded the gunslinger to the Denver Broncos for a 1984 first-round pick, offensive tackle Chris Hinton, and quarterback Mark Hermann. Elway went on to have a storybook career, while the Colts had to wait until 1998 to secure their franchise quarterback when the club drafted Peyton Manning.

6) Chargers and Giants Swap Quarterbacks – 2004

San Diego Chargers Receive: QB Philip Rivers, 2004 third-round pick, 2005 first-round, and fifth-round draft picks

New York Giants Receive: QB Eli Manning

Like Elway, Eli Manning refused to play for the team that drafted him. One of the biggest draft-day trades in NFL history, the Chargers wound up shipping Manning to the New York Giants for fourth-overall pick Philip Rivers, a 2004 third-round pick, and a 2005 first-round and third-round pick.

A rarity, the trade ultimately worked out well for both sides. In addition to Rivers, the Chargers used their 2005 first-round selection on star pass-rusher Shawne Merriman. While Manning would lead the Giants to two Lombardi Trophies, it was Rivers who finished his career with better overall numbers. Both quarterbacks are likely headed to Canton, so it’s difficult to find any fault in this memorable deal.

7) Miami Dolphins Choose Culpepper over Brees – 2006

The 2006 offseason will be forever etched into the minds of Miami Dolphins fans. Concerned about the status of his injured shoulder, the club chose not to sign free-agent quarterback Drew Brees. Miami instead gave up a second-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper made just four starts for the Dolphins, while Brees became a legend down in Nola and a shoo-in first-ballot Hall of Famer.

8) Matt Hasselbeck Joins Mike Holmgren in Seattle – 2001

Seattle Seahawks Receive: Matt Hasselbeck, 2001 first-round pick

Green Pay Packers Receive: 2001 first and third-round picks

One of many backups to Brett Favre to earn a starting job, Matt Hasselbeck made the most of his opportunity with the Seattle Seahawks. Becoming the team’s full-time starter in 2003, Hasselbeck led the Seahawks to a berth in Super Bowl XL while being named to the Pro Bowl three times. In addition, the team used its pick swap on Hall of Fame guard Steve Hutchinson, so it’s safe to say the trade worked out very well for Seattle fans.

Check out SportsGrid’s 9th to 12th ranked biggest quarterback trades if you need to catch up.

Thumbnail photo via USA TODAY Sports Images

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