5 worst NFL trades at the deadline in the last decade

What are the five worst NFL trades that have been made during the season ahead of the trade deadline in the last decade?

Judging the worst NFL trades of the last decade is a tough thing to do. Many trades have a winner and loser, and you could pick a number of big trades where the team giving up a player made a mistake. Therefore, in this article, we will look at the five worst trades of the last decade from the sphere of the team acquiring the player. Which five trades stand out as having been particularly egregious?

Worst NFL trades at the deadline in the last decade

Which NFL trades are in contention to be the worst made in the last decade?

WR Mohamed Sanu | Atlanta Falcons to New England Patriots (2019)

In what would be Tom Brady’s final season in New England, the Patriots were linked to a number of wide receivers heading into the trade deadline. They ultimately traded for Atlanta Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu, sending a second-round pick to Atlanta.

A versatile weapon, hopes were high for Sanu in New England. However, in eight games with the Patriots, Sanu would manage just 26 receptions on 47 targets for 207 yards and 1 touchdown. Sanu would catch just 1 of his 5 targets in the playoffs as the Patriots crashed out to the Titans in the AFC Wild Card Round.

WR Kelvin Benjamin | Carolina Panthers to Buffalo Bills (2017)

When this trade was made, many felt like the Panthers were making one of the worst trades of the 2017 NFL season. The Panthers were challenging at the time, and Kelvin Benjamin had 32 receptions on 51 targets for 475 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The Bills gave up a third- and seventh-round pick for Benjamin, only for him to play just 18 games in Buffalo. During his time with the Bills, Benjamin caught just 39 of 89 targets for 571 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.

LB Jamie Collins | New England Patriots to Cleveland Browns (2016)

The Patriots left the NFL world confused when they traded away their linebacker just seven games into the 2016 season. Jamie Collins had been voted to the Pro Bowl the previous season and was viewed as one of the premier defensive talents in the NFL at the time.

The Browns clearly agreed, sending a third-round pick to New England and later signing him to a four-year, $50 million contract. Included in that deal was $26.4 million in guaranteed money. Collins managed 7 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in Cleveland, but after struggling in both 2018 and 2019, he was released with two years remaining on his contract.

WR Percy Harvin | Seattle Seahawks to New York Jets (2014)

The Seahawks had traded for Percy Harvin in the 2013 offseason, giving up a first-round pick. They then signed him to a six-year, $67 million contract. Harvin would incredibly only play six regular-season and two playoff games for the Seahawks. During Seattle’s Super Bowl victory, Harvin scored a touchdown on a kickoff return.

Harvin had made a solid start to the 2014 season with the Seahawks. Thus, it seemed strange that they were giving him up for a sixth-round pick when they traded him to the Jets. However, it turned out to be a masterstroke from Seattle after Harvin played just eight games with the Jets.

During that time, Harvin caught only 55.8% of his targets for 350 yards and a touchdown. He would not be on New York’s roster to start the 2015 season. It may not have been an expensive mistake, but given the fanfare at the time, it goes down as one of the most disappointing NFL trades of all time, if not exactly the worst.

What is the worst in-season NFL trade of the past decade?

Which trade will go down in infamy as the worst trade to take place during an NFL season?

RB Trent Richardson | Cleveland Browns to Indianapolis Colts (2013)

This is somewhat cheating since Trent Richardson was actually traded in September as opposed to the deadline itself. However, the trade might actually be one of the worst trades in NFL history. Therefore, it deserves to be included here.

Trading a first-round pick for a running back is a dubious decision at the best of times. Trading that pick for an RB who has 1,055 rushing yards on 298 rushing attempts after being selected third overall in the previous draft is simply head-scratching.

At the time, the trade did not make much sense from the outside. When Richardson was released by the Colts just over 18 months later, he had managed only 977 rushing yards on 316 attempts. During that time, he missed the Colts’ AFC Championship Game against the Patriots due to a suspension.

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