Before I go off an a tangent, I’d like to mention in this list of worst trades of all time for the Seattle Seahawks franchise I am omitting the Jamal Adams and Russell Wilson trades. I figure time will tell, especially in the Wilson deal because the team still has 2023 first- and second-round choices coming from that trade. The Adams trade is a little different, because it may have been part of the impetus of the Wilson deal because after the Adams trade the team needed to acquire some draft picks in the 2020s.
Here we go:
10) Seattle acquired OL George Reese from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for L.A. moving up in the second round of the 1977 Draft from the 51st selection to the 31st. With that pick they took Kansas QB Nolan Cromwell, whom they converted to an All-Pro safety. Now, draft picks are a funny thing. It’s cleverness that maximizes the value. As a second-round pick, you could say that Cromwell was someone that the whole league passed on. It’s unknown if Seattle would have taken him given the second chance. It’s only known that Reece played only three games with the Seahawks and called it a career. He was drafted by the Rams in the third round of 1975, one of five picks they received in the midseason 1974 trade that sent QB John Hadl to the Green Bay Packers. So Reece was a footnote it two trades and Cromwell had a career.
9) The Seahawks sent RB Ahman Green to the Green Bay Packers in 2000 for DB Fred Vinson and a swapping of picks that allowed the Packers to move up from the sixth round to the fifth. Vinson never played an NFL regular-season game after the trade due to a series of injures, and trading back in the draft didn’t help Seattle either. You can’t blame the Seahawks for unloading Green the same year they drafted RB Shaun Alenxander, but Green recorded six 1,000-yard seasons with the Packers. The whole point of trading is receiving value, not just creating an opportunity in the backfield.
8) Seattle acquired WR Deion Branch from the New England Patriots in September 2006 for a first-round draft choice in ’07. Branch was only 16 months removed from a Super Bowl MVP performance with New England but never had more than four touchdown catches in any of his four-plus seasons with the Seahawks before going back to New England in a midseason deal in 2010. The story had a happy ending, however, Branch went to the Patriots for a 2011 fourth-round draft choice, which turned out to be LB K.J. Wright.
7) Seattle doesn’t exactly have a tight-end museum. They’ve never had a Pro Bowl TE in their team history. That didn’t change with the 2015 trade that acquired Jimmy Graham from New Orleans. He came to the Seahawks along with a fourth-round draft choice, for OL Max Unger and a first-round selection. Unger had been an All-Pro center with Seattle in 2012, but was limited to six games in the year before the trade. He got back on track with the Saints, missing only one regular-season game in four seasons with the team.
6) Seattle could have had a steady tight end in the 1980s if they had held on to Pete Metzelaars, drafted in the third round of 1982 from Division III Wabash. Metzelaars was dealt to the Buffalo Bills in 1985 for WR Byron Franklin, who started only one game in three years with the Seahawks. Meanwhile Metzelaars played 10 seasons with the Bills including their four-year run of AFC Championships.
5) The Seahawks acquired D-lineman Keith Millard from Minnesota in 1992 in exchange for second- and third-round draft choices. He was a two-time All-Pro with the Vikings, but missed all of 1991 due to a knee injury. Still, maybe it’s a good deal if you can get a proven starter without giving up a first-round choice. Not when you release him in September of his only season with the team. Millard played two games with the Seahawks and two more with the Green Bay Packers before closing out his career with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1993.
4) Seattle acquired unsigned QB Kelly Stouffer from the then Phoenix Cardinals in 1988. Stouffer had been drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987, the No. 6 selection of the first round. Seattle had tried to deal S Kenny Easley to the Cardinals, but he failed the physical due to a kidney disease. The Seahawks ultimately sent first- and fifth-round picks in ’88 and a fifth-rounder in ’89. Phoenix drafted in the 14th position because of the deal. Stouffer never worked out as a full-time NFL stater. He closed out his career on the 1992 Seattle team that went 2-14. He started seven games that year, including each of the team’s victories, though he was replaced on one of those wins. Stouffer was the first of three QBs that cost the team top-20 selections over a relative brief time, between 1988 to ’93, followed by Dan McGwire (1991) and Rick Mirer (1993). None of those players were still on the team in 1999, when Seattle ended an 11-year postseason drought.
3) Seattle acquired WR Percy Harvin from Minnesota in 2013 in exchange for first- and seventh-round selections in 2013 and a third-rounder in ’14. The first-round selection turned out to be Xavier Rhodes, an All-Pro DB in 2017. Harvin came to Seattle the year the team recorded its first Super Bowl Championship, to which he contributed a kickoff-return touchdown at the beginning of the second half of the Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos. Harvin was dealt to the New York Jets in midseason 2014 for a conditional fourth-round pick after proving to be uncooperative with coaches and teammates. It was a quick drop from first-round-plus-other picks to a single conditional fourth-rounder.
2) Unrestricted free agency came to the NFL in 1993, but there were the occasional free agents before that. WR Ahmad Rashad was signed by Seattle in their expansion season of 1976 after sitting out of the 1975 season due to a knee injury. The Seahawks traded Rashad to the Minnesota Vikings for a fourth-round 1977 selection before he could play a regular-season game with the team. Seattle used the pick on another receiver , Larry Seivers, who never played a regular-season NFL game. Rashad initially failed his physical with the Vikings, but remained with the team behind the support of Hall-of-Fame QB Fran Tarkenton. Rashad recorded four straight Pro Bowl seasons with Minnesota beginning with 1978. Shortly before Rashad was traded by Seattle the team acquired Hall-of-Fame WR Steve Largent, then a rookie, in a trade with the then Houston Oilers. One wonders what would have happened if the Seahawks had a Largent-Rashad tandem. Coincidentally, Largent also enjoyed his first Pro Bowl year in 1978.
1) Whether they were connived RB Tony Dorsett would be difficult to sign, or they just felt, in the second year of the life of the franchise, the 1977 Seahawks would be able to offer him much blocking, Seattle passed on the opportunity to take the Heisman-winner. Instead they traded back in the draft to to the No. 14 selection, allowing a Dallas Cowboys team that would go on to win the Super Bowl with the rookie Dorsett, to make the selection. For trading down, Seattle acquired three second-round picks, one of which they traded back to Dallas for WR Duke Ferguson. Of the players obtained by Seattle only OL Steve August, drafted with the traded-down pick in the first round, was still with the team when they made the playoffs for the first time in 1983. That Dorsett would still be available at No. 2 was an anomaly. Tampa Bay, guided by coach John McKay, selected USC RB Ricky Bell No. 1. Bell had played for McKay with the Trojans. The backs led the first group of four-year players after college-football reinstated freshman eligibility in 1973. Dorsett was college-football’s first four-time 1,000-yard rusher. He recorded eight 1,000-yard seasons in his first nine NFL years, missing out in only in strike-shortened 1982, which he closed out with the first 99-yard scrimmage run in league history.