Falcons make list of 10 worst trades in NFL history twice

NFL: Archive

The Falcons have made several blockbuster trades, but none is more notable and recent than Julio Jones.

In 2011, Matt Ryan was in need of another pass catcher, so Atlanta moved up from No. 27 to No. 6 to select the Alabama product, who very well might’ve been the best player in college football that season.

The Browns ended up receiving five picks, including Atlanta’s No. 27 overall selection in the first round and the team’s first-round pick in 2012. Cleveland also acquired Atlanta’s second and fourth-round picks in 2011 and fourth-round selection in 2012.

It was a haul for the Browns, but I don’t think Falcons fans are too upset about how it worked out for them. Julio Jones is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest receivers of all time.

He’s not the only one, though. The day before the 2001 NFL Draft, the Falcons made a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Chargers. Atlanta sent the No. 5 overall pick, second and third-rounders in 2001, a second-rounder in 2002, and wide receiver Tim Dwight to San Diego for the top overall pick, which became Mike Vick.

The Falcons also parted ways with Pro Bowl right tackle George Kunz, sending him and the No. 3 pick to the Baltimore Colts for the No. 1 pick in 1975, which ended up being Steve Bartkowski.

The club could end up making another blockbuster move up the draft boards this year too. Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye are tantalizing prospects, but these trades haven’t always had the Falcons come out on top.

CBS Sports recently ranked the 10 worst player trades in history, and the Falcons came in twice.

7. Brett Favre to the Packers

Favre was selected by the Falcons in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft, and attempted four passes for 0 yards, 0 touchdowns and two interceptions in his rookie season. There was clearly some disfunction with the Falcons, so the Packers approached them and sent a first-round pick in exchange for Favre.

A first-round pick for a quarterback yet to complete a pass to the correct team that failed a physical after the trade seemed pretty ridiculous compensation. But it wasn’t, as Favre went on to win three MVPs, Super Bowl XXXI and lead the NFL in passing touchdowns four different times. Maybe the Falcons should have had a little more patience with their gunslinger from Southern Mississippi, but Jerry Glanville and Ken Herock will never agree on whose fault it was. At the same time, you can’t fault the Falcons considering Favre’s injury concerns, character concerns and the compensation offered. But, it ended up being a bad decision.

This is the one that comes to many fans’ minds, but I don’t agree. I think if Brett Favre had been traded anywhere other than small-town Green Bay, he wouldn’t have realized his full potential like he did with the Packers. Favre was notorious for frequenting the Atlanta night scene, and Green Bay offers virtually nothing but the Packers. It was what he needed at the time. Still, in hindsight, it hurts.

4. Jeff George to the Falcons

The Colts traded with the Falcons to move up to No. 1 overall in the 1990 NFL Draft for quarterback Jeff George, but after going 14-35 as the starter over four seasons, he was traded to the team the Colts traded with initially to acquire George: The Falcons!

Atlanta was in the market for a new quarterback, and sent Indy a first-round pick, third-round pick, a conditional future first-round pick and a third for George. That conditional selection turned into Marvin Harrison by the way.

As for George, he went 7-9 with Atlanta in 1994, then 9-7 in 1995 — a season which did include a playoff berth. However, the next season in 1996, George got into a very public argument with Falcons head coach June Jones, and was suspended for the rest of the season. He never played for the Falcons again. George went 16-19 as the starter for Atlanta, and threw 50 touchdowns and 32 interceptions.

In 2016, Pro Football Reference posted on social media that players taken with the picks the Falcons traded for George were worth 279 AV, which was the highest in a trade involving a first-round pick since 1994. A bad, bad trade.

Now this one is hilarious and such a Falcons move. They made the correct decision initially and traded the No. 1 overall pick to the Colts, but then totally forgot (???) and traded back for the guy that they didn’t want in the first place. Unlike Brett Favre, acquiring Jeff George was an inexcusable move.

Photographer: Kevin Reece/Icon Sportswire
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