NFL trades: How recent deals for wide receivers worked out

If recent history is any indication, expectations for new Eagles wide receiver Golden Tate need to be minimal, at best. Here’s a look at midseason trades of notable wide receivers over the last 10 years. It’s not pretty.

2018: Dallas acquired Amari Cooper from Oakland

Cost: First-round pick in 2019

What was said: “The Cowboys would not have given up a first-round pick for receiver Amari Cooper and fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander if they didn’t believe the playoffs were in reach,” wrote David Moore, of the Dallas Morning News. “Let’s hold them to that standard.”

First-year production: Had five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown in Monday’s disappointing loss to Tennessee. Dak Prescott targeted Cooper eight times, most of any receiver.

Bottom line: Cooper is just 24, so it could be some time before the legacy of this trade is determined. But it’s reminiscent of the first time Percy Harvin was traded, in March 2013. The Seahawks got one year out of Harvin, who also was 24 at the time of the deal, and the first-rounder the Vikings got ended up being cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who has played in the last two Pro Bowls. Cooper doesn’t have Harvin’s medical issues, but you wonder if the Cowboys will regret giving up that first-round pick for him.

Eagles leaders, 2018 Targ. Rec. Yards Yards/Game TDs
Zach Ertz 84 61 644 80.5 3
Nelson Agholor 61 41 372 46.5 1
Alshon Jeffery 44 29 342 68.2 4
Dallas Goedert 21 18 188 23.5 3
Wendell Smallwood 22 15 143 17.9 2
Corey Clement 16 14 115 19.2 0
Jordan Matthews 14 10 200 33.3 1
Also
Golden Tate (w/Det.) 69 44 517 73.9 3

2018: Houston acquired Demaryius Thomas from Denver

Cost: Fourth- and seventh-round picks in 2019

What was said: “I like his size. I like his route tree. I think he can do a lot of different things,” Houston coach Bill O’Brien said. “I like his intelligence, his experience. I don’t think there’s any substitute for experience. Obviously, he’s got good hands. There’s a lot of things to like about Demaryius Thomas.”

First-year production: The Texans were 5-3 when they dealt for Thomas and won at Denver in his first game. Thomas had three catches for 61 yards, all in the first quarter.

Bottom line: Thomas will turn 31 on Christmas, and age is why his price was lower than Cooper’s. Houston just lost Will Fuller, the Roman Catholic grad, but continues to lead the AFC South. Denver had young receivers behind Thomas, who was going to be a $14 million cap hit next season. Good deal for both teams.

2017: Buffalo acquired Kelvin Benjamin from Carolina

Cost: Third- and seventh-round picks in 2018 (CB Rashaan Gaulden, LB Andre Smith)

What was said: “I was looking at any area that would help us,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said at the time. “Receiver was one of the highlighted areas. But any position that would have helped us and made sense for us to win today and win tomorrow, we would have made the move.”

First-year production: Not much. He missed two games with a knee injury and posted 16 catches for 217 yards and one touchdown in the six games he did play for Buffalo.

Bottom line: The Bills were 5-2 at the time of the deal and trying to make a playoff push. Though they did break a 17-year postseason drought, it wasn’t because of Benjamin. This season, he has 20 catches in nine games and the Bills are horrendous.

2014: Jets acquired Percy Harvin from Seattle

Cost: Sixth-round pick in 2015 (S Kyshoen Jarrett)

What was said: “The surprise move came less than 24 hours after the Jets (1-6) fell further into the AFC East basement with their sixth consecutive loss, one that was sealed by their repeated inability to score touchdowns at the end of long drives into the Patriots’ red zone,” wrote Bart Hubbuch, of the New York Post.

First-year production: Also not much. Harvin had 29 catches in eight games and just one score. He averaged 25 yards on kickoff returns, but injuries (especially concussions) had him on the downside of his career. Harvin retired the following year at 27.

Bottom line: The pick the Jets gave up was conditional, so the cost was minimal. Jarrett played just one season in the NFL.

2010: Vikings acquired Randy Moss from New England

Cost: Third-round pick in 2011 (QB Ryan Mallet); Minnesota also got a seventh-rounder in 2012 (LB Travis Lewis)

What was said: “To me, it’s mind-boggling and it’s disappointing for Randy to be traded at this point, where he is in the season and his career, and not be able to have a big payday – because look at (Tom) Brady,” Cincinnati’s Terrell Owens told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.  ”Brady just had a payday and a lot of the numbers that he’s put up is because of Randy.”

First-year production: Moss played just four games for the Vikings, registering 14 catches and two touchdowns.

Bottom line: Minnesota lost in the NFC championship game the previous year and thought Moss would provide a boost. Instead, he was cut after four games after ripping head coach Brad Childress, who was fired three weeks later. It was a mess.

Jerry Lodriguss / Staff photographer

It was a disaster when Randy Moss was traded back to Minnesota in 2010. Here’s Moss in a 2004 game against Lito Sheppard (ground) and Brian Dawkins, of the Eagles.

2010: New England acquired Deion Branch from Seattle

Cost: Fourth-round pick in 2011 (LB K.J. Wright)

What was said: Branch, who had helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls (including SB39, when he was MVP), is one of the most popular players in team history.  “I was in the grocery store and like 15 people ran up to me and were like, ‘We’re glad you’re back home,'” he told the Boston Globe.

First-year production: Branch had 48 catches as the Patriots went 10-1 with him in the lineup and 14-2 overall. New England was upset by the Jets in the first round, however.

Bottom line: Branch took a hefty paycut to approve the deal (from approximately $6 million to $2.2 for 2011, according to the Boston Globe), which mitigates the pick New England gave up to get him. Wright, in his eighth season, has had a productive career for Seattle.

Branch, 2010 Games Rec./Game Yards/Game TDs Team W-L
w/Seattle 4 3.3 28.0 1 2-2
w/New England 11 4.4 64.2 5 10-1

2009: N.Y. Jets acquired Braylon Edwards from Cleveland

Cost: WR Chansi Stuckey, DE Jason Trusnik, a third-round pick (T Shawn Lauvao) and fifth-round pick (S Larry Asante)

What was said: “‘Our goal is to win the Super Bowl,'” tight end Dustin Keller told the New York Times. “‘Braylon gives us the best chance to do that.”

First-year production: Edwards had 35 catches for 541 yards and four TDs. He averaged fewer than three receptions per game.

Bottom line: The Jets went 6-6 after acquiring Edwards. They still managed a wild card and made it to the AFC title game before losing at Indianapolis. They did nearly reach the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t because of Edwards. The Jets had the best defense in the NFL that year.

2008: Dallas acquired Roy Williams from Detroit

Cost: First-, third- and sixth-round picks (TE Brandon Pettigrew, WR Derrick Williams, RB Aaron Brown).

What was said: “The question we all want answered is whether (Terrell Owens) can share the spotlight with another star receiver. Trust me, no one knows,” wrote Jean-Jacques Taylor, of the Dallas Morning News. “It’s one thing for Patrick Crayton or Miles Austin to score a touchdown. Those guys don’t threaten T.O., because he knows he’s the better player.”

First-year production: Disaster. Williams had 19 catches in 10 games as the Cowboys went 5-5 after the deal. Their season ended with a 44-6 loss at Philadelphia with a playoff spot at stake.

Bottom line: The Lions were early into an 0-16 season when they made the deal. The Cowboys were 4-1. Turned out they both played the same number of playoff games: zero. Dallas did make it to the postseason the following year, and even beat the Eagles in a wild-card game.

Here are some recent deals the Eagles made for wide receivers. These all were made before the start of the season.

2016: Dorial Green-Beckham, from Tennessee, for OL Dennis Kelly

Notable: DGB had 36 receptions in his only season with the Eagles. Kelly is still a solid backup for the Titans.

2006: Donte Stallworth, from New Orleans, for LB Mark Simoneau and a fourth-round pick

Notable: Stallworth also played just one season for the Eagles (38 catches in 11 games). New Orleans used the fourth-round pick on offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod, who is still playing.

2006: Hank Baskett, from Minnesota, for WR Billy McMullen

Notable: Baskett was a solid special-teams player who chipped in six touchdown catches as an Eagle. Baskett also is known for his role on reality TV shows with Playboy model and wife Kendra Wilkinson.

2004: Terrell Owens, from Baltimore for DL Brandon Whiting, LB Tony Bua and a fifth-round pick

Notable: Owens helped the Eagles get to the Super Bowl in his first season and lost his mind in the second.

1998: Jeff Graham, from N.Y. Jets, for a sixth-round pick

Notable: Graham led the Eagles in receiving (600 yards) in his only season here. Andy Reid was brought in after the season, and the rebuild did not include Graham.

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