Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith Trades Lead The List

Published on April 25th, 2022 12:02 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Jerry Rice is an example of a phenomenal NFL draft-day trade.  One of the best wide receivers in history. Sometimes draft day trades work out ridiculously well for the team that moves up, as they get their player and that player turns out to be great.

Sometimes these trades don't work out at all, as the player that was targeted turns out to be a bust.


There have been some phenomenal draft-day trades over the years - hare are the five best:

1. Jerry Rice.

Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver in the history of the NFL, was acquired by the San Francisco 49ers via a draft-day trade.

The 49ers really wanted Rice, though they only had the 28th pick in the first round and they worried that Rice wouldn't make it that far.

So, the 49ers made a deal with the New England Patriots - we'll swap first round picks (#16 for #28) and give you our second and third round picks, in exchange for the #16 spot and a third-round pick from the Patriots.

The deal was made, Rice was united with Joe Montana and the rest is history.

2. Emmitt Smith.

Emmitt Smith was one of the key components of the Dallas Cowboys dynasty of the early '90s.

The Cowboys wanted Smith and traded with the Pittsburgh Steelers to get him, as they swapped their #21 pick for the Steelers' #17 pick, plus the Cowboys sent their 3rd rounder to the Steelers.

The trade paid off in spades for the Cowboys, as Smith ended his career as a Hall of Famer with multiple rushing records to his name.

3. Patrick Mahomes.

Some might say that Mahomes is too young to be included on this list, but I'd disagree, as he has already made a massive impact with the Kansas City Chiefs, leading them to multiple Super Bowls and winning one in the process.

Mahomes, who will almost certainly finish his career as a Hall of Famer, was acquired by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Chiefs paid handsomely for Mahomes, as they sent their 27th pick, a 3rd round pick and their first-round pick for the 2018 NFL Draft in exchange for the #10 pick.

With that #10 pick, the Chiefs picked Mahomes, and their franchise was changed forever.

4. Eli Manning.

This was the rare blockbuster trade that worked out for both teams.

In the 2004 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers selected Eli Manning #1 overall, despite the fact that Manning had already said that he didn't want to play with the team.

The Giants, who selected Philip Rivers in the first round as well, ended up making a deal with the Chargers that saw them receive Manning and send back River, a first-round, third-round and fifth-round pick.

Eli Manning would go on to win multiple Super Bowls and will surely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

5. Tony Gonzalez.

Another first-ballot Hall of Famer that was acquired via a draft-day trade.

Gonzalez, who is one of the greatest tight ends of all time, was drafted after the Chiefs traded their third and sixth round picks (and swapped fourth rounders as well) to the Tennessee Oilers in exchange for the two teams swapping their first round picks (#13 for #18).

Gonzalez would not disappoint, as he would be named to the Pro Bowl 14 times over the course of his illustrious career.

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