A History of Bad Deals

Today’s post is brought to you by Blue Blood: Tales of Glory of the Indianapolis Colts

An interesting article showed up on ESPN Insider yesterday that looked at some of the most disappointing trades in NFL history. The the chagrin of Colts fans, several of them involved Indianapolis.

Aside from the ‘honorable mention‘ spot belonging to the Dickerson deal, the Colts were involved in three of the five worst deals that went badly for all parties in recent history.

The Dickerson Trade: As I cover in my book, the Dickerson trade went as well and as poorly as could be imagined. Dickerson was phenomenal for his first 2 1/2 years in blue and white.  He carried the Colts to the playoffs in 1987 and was a Pro Bowl selection in both 1988 and 1989. As he grew older, he became more petulant, and his holdout before the 1990 season was a disaster for the team.  The Colts gave him a new contract at age 29, not realizing he was already out of gas.

Trade up for Trev Alberts: In the 1994 draft, the Colts had three of the top seven picks, but inexplicably traded a third rounder to move up two spots for Trev Alberts.  Oops. Alberts ended up being one the worst Colts of all time, later admitting he was hurt before Indy took him.

Trade away of Chris Chandler: The Colts got a steal when they dumped Chris Chandler the Bucs for what turned out to be the second overall pick. Unfortunately, it was the second pick in one of the worst drafts of the decade and netted the frustrating Quentin Coryatt who showed flashes of brilliance, but never put it all together.

Trading for and then away Jeff George The worst set of two-way deals of recent memory was the Falcons and Colts swap back and forth of the rights to Jeff George.  We all know how the era ended, with George angrily giving the bird to the hometown fans, metaphorically and literally. Years later, the Colts turned one of the George picks into Marvin Harrison, but a lot of pain happened first.

There were other bad deals that didn’t qualify for the list:

The Colts acquire Fredd Young for two first round picks.  You don’t remember Fredd Young? His claim to fame was appearing on the original Tecmo Bowl, having two ‘d’s in his name, and costing the Colts two first round picks. Click the link in his name to see what Indy got for that King‘s ransom.  Ugly.

2007 2nd round pick (Tony Ugoh) for a 2008 first round pick. This could have made the disappointing trades list because the 49ers used that first round pick in 2008 for the immortal Kentwan Balmer.  As it turns out, the 2008 draft was very weak.  There weren’t a lot outstanding players in the late first/early second round.  Ugoh contributed heavily in 2007 and 2008 before losing his starting job.  He never had the right temperament or desire to become great to succeed long term in the NFL.  The failure of Ugoh to develop hurt Indy more than the lost pick did. 

Marshal Faulk for a second round pick. This deal gets overlooked because the Colts selected Edgerrin James in the first round, but by any measure dealing a Hall of Famer for Mike Peterson is a bad deal. The Colts could have gotten more, but the Polian wanted to keep Faulk out of the AFC.