With all of the rumors about the Philadelphia Eagles trading Kevin Kolb, I thought it would be a great time to take a look back at some historic Eagles trades. Be careful Eagles fans, you don’t always get exactly what you wish for.
The Philadelphia Eagles have had some major success throughout the history of the franchise when it comes to trades. Some of the biggest names in Philadelphia Eagles history have donned Eagle green as a result of a simple telephone transaction. Yet, not all trades have ended up in favor of the birds. It’s fair to say that when the Eagles get it right, they get it right, and when they screw it up, they really screw it up.
Here are 11 memorable Philadelphia Eagles trades that have gone down in history as either a great trade or a memorable blunder. Overall in Eagles history, the franchise got the better end of the trade in most transactions. Yet the birds really struggled when it came to swapping draft picks and missing out on players that could have turned the franchise around. That said, let’s take a green walk down memory lane and look back on eleven transactions that changed Eagles history.
1958 – QB Norm Van Brocklin is acquired from the Los Angeles Rams for T Buck Lansford, DB Jimmy Harris, and a 1st round pick. The year prior to joining the Eagles, Van Brocklin threw six interceptions in the NFL title game, thus costing the Rams a win and writing a ticket out of town. The Eagles capitalized on this with a brilliant trade. Two years later, Van Brocklin led the Eagles to an NFL title beating the Green Bay Packers. Van Brockin led a fourth quarter comeback amd won the game for the birds 17-13. Van Brocklin was elected into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1971. Philadelphia Eagles Encyclopedia author and NFL Hall of Fame writer Ray Diddinger has called Van Brocklin the greatest player to put on an Eagles uniform.
1974 – The Eagles acquire LB Bill Bergey and TE Charle Young from the Cincinnati Bengals for two first round and one second round draft picks. Bergey was a four-time All Pro with the birds. Bergey was also a three-time team MVP. Bergey also set the record for most interceptions by a linebacker. The birds thrived on Bergey’s aggressive play with three playoff trips and one Super Bowl appearance during Bergey’s tenure. Bill was at one-time the highest paid defensive player in the NFL…before Leonard Toes blew his money on craps of course.
1977 – QB Ron Jaworski was acquired from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for All-Pro TE Charle Young. Yes, arguably the most popular quarterback of the last several decades and MNF announcer, Ron Jaworski came to the Eagles via trade. The irony here is that when another great quarterback was acquired by the birds two decades later, some of the fans hated the move. Later reports now indicate that this was an illegal trade under NFL rules at the time, although nobody protested. Prior to joining the Eagles Jaworski backed up Pat Haden with the rams. Jaworski’s success as an Eagle is legendary and his impact to the Super Bowl run in 1980 has been revered by Eagles fans ever since. I wonder how many Eagles fans were crying about Charlie Young in 1980?
2004 – Next question! The Eagles acquire WR Terrell Owens from the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers as part of a three-team deal with a conditional fifth-round pick and defensive end Brandon Whiting. While he only played one full season with the Eagles, Owens remains one of the most memorable players in team history. Owens and Donovan McNabb combined to produce one of the most prolific offenses in Philadelphia Eagles history. Their efforts throughout the season culminated with an appearance in the Super Bowl. Things went downhill the following season and Owens was benched for more than half of the season. In the end if Brandon Whiting and a draft pick meant one Dream Season and a Super Bowl with T.O., I think it was well worth the headache. Owens had 20 touchdowns in two seasons with the Eagles.
2010 – The Philadelphia Eagles trade Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins, three days after Andy Reid tells the media he won’t trade McNabb. The Eagles traded McNabb to the Redskins in exchange for a second round draft pick. The Eagles were left with Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick at quarterback. Donovan McNabb wound up having the worst season of his career as a starter while Vick led the Eagles to a home playoff game. Additionally, the birds drafted safety Nate Allen with the Redskins pick. In the end the Eagles appear to have a hit grand slam with this trade between going with Vick and drafting Allen.
1964 – The Eagles trade Christian Adolph “Sonny” Jurgensen III to the Washington Redskins in exchange for quarterback Norm Snead and cornerback Claude Crabb. One of the most infamous trades in Eagles trade history still makes the top of the list almost fifty-years later. Jurgensen spent seven years with the Eagles, backing up Norm Van Brocklin before taking over the starting spot when Van Brocklin retired in 1961. In his first few seasons as a starter, Jurgensen passed for an NFL record 3,723 yards and tied an NFL record with 32 touchdowns. Jurgensen was also voted to the Pro Bowl as an Eagle. Jurgensen was then abruptly traded after suffering a multitude of injuries in the 1963 season (sound familiar?). Jurgensen would have several more successful seasons with the Redskins, including a run with new coach Vince Lombardi. Even with just a few years as a starter, he was named to the Philadelphia Eagles Ring of Honor in 1987.
1995 – The Eagles essentially trade Warren Sapp for Mike Mamula. It hurts just as much today to write it as it did watching it in 1995.April 22, 1995, the birds traded a 1st round pick and two second round picks to Tampa Bay for the 7th overall selection and a third round pick. This one may go down as one of the all-time blunders in Eagles trade history. The Bucs used the pick acquired from the Eagles to draft DT Warren Sapp. As a Buc, Sapp was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection (Mamula made none). Sapp also won a Super Bowl with the Bucs in 2003. The irony there is that the Bucs beat the Eagles in the NFC title game to get to the big dance. Maybe the game would have played out a lot differently if the Eagles had Sapp? All was not lost in the 1995 draft as the Eagles acquired CB Bobby Taylor with a pick from the Kansas City Chiefs. Yeah, not quite the same now is it?
2006 – The Eagles make several Draft Day trades and wind up trading away the 127th pick to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings use that pick to select DE Ray Edwards. The Eagles wound up coming away from the deal with WR Jason Avant with a fourth-round pick. So the deal really comes down to Avant vs. Edwards. In 2010, it is debatable to call this a blunder but it should be noted nonetheless. One of the Eagles biggest needs over the last several seasons has been defensive end. In Edwards, the Eagles would have had a starting DE to line up opposite Trent Cole, where Avant is technically the #3 wide receiver on the team, maybe #4. Edwards came up huge in the 2009-10 playoffs for the Vikings with three sacks on Tony Romo, tying a franchise record. Edwards finished second on the Vikings last season 8.5 sacks. I ask Eagles fans, would you rather have had Edwards and Cole lined up as your starting defensive ends or Jason Avant as your third (maybe) wide receiver?
2007 – The Eagles trade a first round draft pick to Dallas in exchange for a second round draft pick, a third round draft pick, and a fifth round pick. This is still very much a debatable trade, but in 2010 I’d call this one a sack. The Cowboys used the pick to draft DE Anthony Spencer, while the Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley with two of their picks. Spencer has since been named to the 2009 Sports Illustrated All-Pro team and has wrecked havoc on the Eagles, while Kolb is on the way out, and Bradley can’t healthy. Spencer is looking like a beast for the Cowboys and was in McNabb’s face in all three games during the 09-10 season, including the pivotal playoff debacle. The fact that the Eagles virtually gave such a defensive monster to the Cowboys who will be raising hell against the birds two-times a year makes this one a sack in my opinion.
Tennessee RB Chris Johnson, Dallas Cowboys RB Felix Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers DB Aqib Talib, New York Giants Safety Kenny Phillips, and New York Jets TE Dustin Keller were all available with that 19th pick. Yes, the same Chris Johnson that set a rushing record last season could have been an Eagle with that pick! There is no way to even fathom why the Eagles would trade out of one of the most talented first-round classes in decades. The Eagles would later use the Panthers pick as part of a package to acquire OT Jason Peters from the Buffalo Bills. Unless you think the birds are better off with Jason Peters over Chris Johnson or any of the above mentioned names, this trade was a huge sack.
Thanks to Brett Clendaniel at http://WrestleChat.net for some help with the trades.