Top 12 NFL Quarterback Trades of the Past 40 Years – Part 3 (1-4)


Mar 24, 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, our final chapter is right here, right now. The last installment features the top four of the 12 biggest quarterback trades in NFL history. Feel free to throw the challenge flag and keep an eye out for other SportsGrid best-of lists from every sport.

1) Green Bay Packers Acquire NFL’s Ironman – 1992

Green Bay Packers Receive: QB Brett Favre

Atlanta Falcons Receive: 1992 first-round draft pick

Here we have the trade that started Brett Favre’s legendary career in Green Bay. Originally drafted by Atlanta in the second round of the 1991 Draft, the Falcons shipped Favre to the Packers in exchange for a first-round draft pick. The Mississippi native spent 16 spectacular years in the Frozen Tundra, winning three league MVPs and one Lombardi Trophy while setting the NFL’s consecutive games played record. As for the Falcons, they wound up trading down in the first round of the 1992 Draft, ultimately selecting running back and draft bust Tony Smith.

2) Kansas City Chiefs Land a 49ers Legend – 1993

Kansas City Chiefs Receive: Joe Montana, 1994 third-round draft pick

San Francisco 49ers Receive: 1993 first-round draft pick

The idea of Joe Montana playing anywhere other than San Francisco seemed unfathomable. However, with the rise of fellow quarterback Steve Young, that is exactly what happened in 1993. To the chagrin of some Niners fans, the team dealt the Hall of Fame QB to the Kansas City Chiefs. Montana led KC to the AFC title game in his first year before retiring at the end of the 1994 season due to numerous injuries. San Francisco, meanwhile, would use its first-round pick on Pro Bowl defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield.

3) Steve Young Continues 49ers’ Run of Success – 1987

The first overall pick in the 1984 Supplemental Draft, Steve Young spent two forgettable seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback. Convinced that Young’s underwhelming numbers resulted from a lack of talent surrounding him, San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh acquired the then 26-year-old for a second and fourth-round draft pick in 1987. The rest, as they say, is history. Young won two league MVPs while helping the Niners secure their fifth Super Bowl title in the 1994-95 season. I’d say Walsh had it right.

4) Los Angeles Rams Give Matthew Stafford New Life – 2021

Los Angeles Rams Receive: QB Matthew Stafford

Detroit Lions Receive: QB Jared Goff, first-round pick in 2022 and 2023, 2021 third-round pick

Toiling away in Detroit, quarterback Matthew Stafford was viewed as the missing piece to the LA Rams title hopes. Needless to say, the trade could not have worked out any better for the Rams. Stafford threw 41 touchdowns in the regular season, leading LA to its first Super Bowl title since the 1999-2000 campaign. The trade made sense for the Lions, but management will need to hit on their first-round selections to expedite the rebuilding process.

Check out SportsGrid’s 5th to 8th and 9th to 12th ranked biggest quarterback trades if you need to catch up.

Thumbnail photo via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel files, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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