A number of Pro Bowl players changed teams this offseason in exchange for draft picks.

The Broncos shipped QB Jay Cutler and a fifth-round pick to the Bears for QB Kyle Orton and three draft picks, a first-rounder and third-rounder this year and a first-rounder next year. The Bills sent OT Jason Peters to the Eagles for first and fourth-round choices this year and a sixth-round selection next year. Finally, the Chiefs dealt TE Tony Gonzalez to the Falcons for a second-round pick this year.

Honorable mentions
While the 10 trades below are some of the most noteworthy involving star players for draft picks, there have been many more in NFL history. Take a look at the best of the rest. More ...

» Debate: Dealing players for picks

These sorts of trades are made every year, but rarely does anyone go back and look what the draft picks involved in the deals wound up doing. Still, it is inevitable that the careers of Broncos' choice Robert Ayers and Bills' choice Eric Wood, will forever be linked to those of Jay Cutler and Jason Peters, respectively.

What does history show about how these trades turn out? Do the players usually go on to bigger success or do the picks often wind up becoming stars?

Many Hall of Famers, not to mention Pro Bowl players, have been traded throughout their careers for draft picks. Here are 10 of the biggest veteran-for-draft-pick trades of all time. A number of factors were considered in deciding these 10 trades, including the era of the trade, the impact it had on both teams, the difference it made in the future of each franchise and the trade's notoriety. If you feel like we should have included any other trades among these 10, let us know.

Several factors come into play when looking at whether a team should keep its star veteran or trade him for draft picks. In some of these 10 trades there is a clear winner and in others it is not so obvious. Once you examine each trade, make sure to share your opinion on which team got the better end of the deal.

Team receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key pick
1989
Vikings side: Minnesota had been contending for years, but was unable to make that next step to the Super Bowl. The Vikings hoped that by acquiring the superstar Walker, who was coming off a 1,514-yard season, in Week 6 of the 1989 season, they would finally go from contender to champion. Walker did help the Vikings make the playoffs that first season, but they lost to the 49ers in the first round, and in two subsequent seasons, Minnesota failed to post a winning record. They let Walker go after just two and a half seasons. The Vikings also got four draft picks in the trade, but only 1991 third-round WR Jake Reed became a productive player.

Cowboys side: Dallas was in the midst of a complete rebuilding job under new coach Jimmy Johnson. The Cowboys had started 0-5 with Herschel Walker, so when they had a chance to pick up eight draft picks by trading him, they jumped at the opportunity. The Cowboys also picked up five veterans in the trade, but none of those players were central to the deal in the long term. Of the eight choices the Cowboys acquired, two of them went on to be great. Emmitt Smith, taken in 1990 with the first-rounder from Minnesota (No. 17 overall) became the league's all-time leading rusher. Safety Darren Woodson, taken with a Vikings' second-round pick in 1991, became Dallas' defensive cornerstone.

Conclusion: This trade set up the Cowboys' dynasty of the 1990s and sent the Vikings into a tailspin.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
1987
Colts side: In the Colts' first three years at Indianapolis, they finished 4-12, 5-11 and 3-13. Needing to make a splash, they decided to deal three draft picks and the rights to rookie Cornelius Bennett for superstar RB Eric Dickerson. Dickerson gained 1,011 yards in just nine games during the strike-shortened 1987 season and followed that up with a 1,659-yard season and 14 touchdowns in 1988. Despite his individual success, the Colts made the playoffs only once in his five seasons.

Bills side: Buffalo made out in this deal. They got the rights to rookie LB Cornelius Bennett, who wound up becoming a perennial Pro Bowl linebacker and a key member of the four-time AFC champion Bills. The three picks they traded wound up being RBs Gaston Green and Cleveland Gary and DB Darryl Henley, none of whom made a single Pro Bowl.

Rams side: The Rams got two veterans in the deal -- RBs Greg Bell and Owen Gill. Gill never became a major contributor, but Bell did have two monster seasons with the Rams in 1988-89. As for the picks the Rams got, none of the six turned into stars, although DB Darryl Henley developed into a solid starter and Cleveland Gary led the league in rushing touchdowns in 1990.

Conclusion: The Colts gained a foothold in Indianapolis, the surging Bills got a defensive linchpin and the Rams got some players that helped them make the playoffs in 1988 and 1989.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
1993
49ers side: Filling in for an injured Joe Montana in 1991 and 1992, Steve Young played sensationally. Given Young's stellar play, San Francisco decided to give him the starting job permanently and trade franchise icon Joe Montana, who was recovering from an eblow injury. Young wound up having a Hall of Fame career for the 49ers and they got the 18th overall pick in the 1993 draft for Montana. After trading down twice, they used the pick to get DT Dana Stubblefield, who was the 1997 Defensive Player of the Year.

Chiefs side: In addition to Montana, the Chiefs also picked up veteran S David Whitmore and a third-round pick in 1994 that they used on WR Lake Dawson. Montana led the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game in 1993 and another playoff appearance in 1994. Dawson and Whitmore were complementary players.

Conclusion: By opening up a spot for Steve Young and grabbing Stubblefield, this trade worked out well for San Francisco. The Chiefs made out nicely too, as Montana took them to the playoffs twice.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
1978
49ers side: San Francisco had suffered five straight losing seasons and was looking for a spark. The 49ers hoped that Simpson would provide some "Juice" to the fledgling franchise. Instead, the future Hall of Fame rusher was on his last legs and lasted only two more seasons before retiring. San Francisco's record in each of those two seasons was just 2-14 -- the worst seasons in the club's history. On the bright side, the 49ers emerged from that low period to enjoy their glory years in the 1980s.

Bills side: Only one of the four players the Bills drafted with the picks they received from the 49ers went on to have a great career -- RB Joe Cribbs -- but the 1979 first overall pick they acquired eventually led them to enormous success down the road. Buffalo took Tom Cousineau with the top pick in 1979 (one of the four choices they acquired for Simpson), but the linebacker, involved in a contract squabble, went to the Canadian Football League. He eventually wanted back in the NFL and the Bills traded him to the Browns for a first-round pick, 18th overall, in the 1983 draft. They then used that choice to select Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly.

Conclusion: The 49ers went from bad to worse, suffering through the two worst seasons in franchise history and the Bills set the foundation for four AFC titles.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
1970
Dolphins side: Miami joined the American Football League in 1966 and was one of the worst teams in the AFL. In 1970, the Dolphins joined the NFL after the merger. Enter Don Shula. The Dolphins hired the former Colts coach after joining the NFL and he immediately turned around the team's fortunes. That was not the only major acquisition they made, however. They also traded for Browns Pro Bowl WR Paul Warfield. Warfield gave the Dolphins a deep threat to go along with their power rushing attack and Miami instantly became a contender and eventually a champion.

Browns side: Cleveland was infatuated with Purdue QB Mike Phipps. The front office thought that Phipps could be the final piece to help the Browns go from contender back to champion. They had won the title in 1964, but after that season they kept getting close, but coming short. The hope was that Phipps would be the star signal-caller the team was missing and restore the team to its prior glory. Unfortunately, Phipps never really developed into the player he was projected to be and the Browns never won a playoff game with him under center.

Conclusion: The Dolphins went straight up with Warfield, while the Browns sank with Phipps.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
1999
Rams side: Dick Vermeil brought in QB Trent Green in the offseason to run his offense and after two down years in St. Louis, felt like his team was ready to turn the corner. The Rams targeted star RB Marshall Faulk as the final piece that could help the team emerge from last place to contending status. They decided to trade second and fifth-round picks for the speedy back. He did prove to make the difference and helped St. Louis win the Super Bowl in his first year with the Rams.

Colts side: Indianapolis had its eyes on RB Edgerrin James in the draft and wanted to build a young nucleus around second-year QB Peyton Manning, fourth-year WR Marvin Harrison and James. Faulk did not fit into those plans and became expendable. The Colts found a taker for Faulk in the Rams and used the two selections they received on defense, picking LB Mike Peterson and DE Brad Scioli. Peterson became a solid starter for the Colts, while Scioli was a productive backup for six seasons.

Conclusion: Both teams got what they wanted from the deal as the Rams won a title and the Colts became a dominant team in the AFC.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
Oilers
1980
Oilers side: Houston was 3-3 and in the midst of a two-game losing skid when it decided a move was necessary. Earl Campbell was the driving force behind the offense, but the team wanted to improve the passing game. They had brought in QB Kenny Stabler from the Raiders in the offseason and hoped that by reuniting him with Casper, the aerial attack could blossom. While Casper did help the Oilers go on an 8-2 tear to finish that season, they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs and over the next three seasons became the worst team in the NFL.

Rams side: The Raiders used the three draft picks they acquired (first-round and second-round picks in 1981 and a second-round pick in 1982) to pick up Ted Watts, Howie Long and Jack Squirek. While Watts and Squirek failed to become high-impact players (though Squirek did have a memorable interception return for a TD in the Super Bowl), Long went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Raiders. This trade helped sustain the Raiders' defense for years to come, and to boot, they brought back Casper for his final season in 1984.

Conclusion: The Raiders got pieces that helped them win a Super Bowl, while the Oilers fell apart after a half-season bump from Casper.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
1967
Giants side: After being the dominant NFL team through the 1950s and early 1960s, New York had fallen on hard times. It was optimistic that bringing in Vikings' star quarterbac Fran Tarkenton would remedy its problems. Though Tarkenton did help the Giants from a 1-12-1 season to 7-7, he was never able to help them get back into the playoffs during his five years with the team. Making this trade worse for the Giants, they traded Tarkenton back to Minnesota for a package of players and picks that never really made an impact.

Vikings side: While the Herschel Walker trade gets derided as one of the worst in NFL history, this one executed by the Vikings is considered one of the best in NFL history. The team received a first and second-rounder in 1967, a first-rounder in 1968 and a second-rounder in 1969. They used the 1968 pick on future Hall of Fame OT Ron Yary and the 1969 pick on G Ed White. Those two players helped the Vikings dominate the NFC in the 1970s. Making it an even better deal, the Vikings got Tarkenton back five years later and he led them to three Super Bowls.

Conclusion: The Vikings made three Super Bowls, the Giants were unable to turn-around their club and remained lousy through the 1970s.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
1958
Eagles side: Philadelphia had just endured three straight losing seasons and wanted to change the team's losing culture. In order to do so, it was willing to deal a first-round pick for the Rams' veteran signal-caller Norm Van Brocklin. Van Brocklin was charged with turning around a once-proud franchise and restoring it to its past glory. After a rocky first year, the Eagles began to improve in his second season and won a championship in his third year. He then retired and the Eagles have not won a league title since.

Rams side: Los Angeles had been an annual contender for most of Van Brocklin's career, but it had sputtered in 1956 and 1957. The Rams wanted to give Billy Wade a chance to take over the starting quarterback duties and decided to deal Van Brocklin for a first-round pick. With that selection, they chose RB Dick Bass. Despite Bass' individual success over a steady 10-year career, the Rams nosedived without Van Brocklin and did not recover until the latter stages of Bass' career when coach George Allen was hired in 1966.

Conclusion: The Eagles won a championship with Van Brocklin and the Rams slid into a major funk for several seasons.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?

 
Teams receiving player
Key player
Year
Team receiving pick
Key picks
1996
Steelers side: Pittsburgh's offense under Bill Cowher was predicated upon power running. The Steelers had just lost in the Super Bowl to the Cowboys and wanted to strengthen their backfield. Bruising rusher Bam Morris was injury-prone and the club lacked another between-the-tackles option. When the Rams put the burly Bettis on the market, Pittsburgh made a 1996 draft-day trade in which they dealt a second-rounder and a 1997 fourth-rounder for Bettis and a third-rounder. The move paid dividends as Bettis went on to become the franchise's second all-time leading rusher behind only Franco Harris.

Rams side: Under new coach Rich Brooks, the Rams wanted their offense to be predicated on a speedier back, who was also dangerous in the passing attack. Bettis was not the ideal candidate for this system, so St. Louis chose to move him. The Rams used the second-rounder they obtained on TE Ernie Conwell, who played seven years in St. Louis, mostly as a backup. They traded the fourth-rounder and a sixth-rounder to the Dolphins for their fourth-round pick and used it on solid C Ryan Tucker.

Conclusion: The Steelers got their franchise running back and the Rams got two adequate role players.

Discuss: Who got the better end of this deal?


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