The Green Bay Packers have made many critical trades in their 100 year history. Some set the stage for greatness like when the Packers acquired Brett Favre from the Falcons prior to the 1992 season while others set the team back and had a devastating negative affect on the franchise for years to come.
Here is a look at the three worst trades in Packers history and their impact on the franchise:
- Packers Send Two 2nd Round Picks to Miami for QB Jim Del Gaizo
The Packers won the NFC Central Division title in 1972 with a 10-4 record but their passing game was still considered a major weakness. With that in mind, the acquired lefthanded quarterback Jim Del Gaizo who had served as the third-string signal caller on the Miami Dolphins perfect 17-0 team in 1972. The cost: a second round pick in 1974 and another second round pick in 1975.
Del Gaizo had a minimal impact in Green Bay. He made three starts and appeared in eight games. In one of those starts, he was relieved at halftime after completing one pass for minus-four yards in a game the Packers eventually won.
His final totals for the Packers included a 43.5 percent completion percentage, two touchdowns, six interceptions and a passer rating of 30.9.
His third and final start came in Week 7 when the Pack lost in Detroit 34-0 and Del Gaizo completed five passes for 33 yards.
The two picks the Packers gave up became tight end Andre Tillman, who lasted four seasons with Miami and caught 66 passes for 757 yards and six touchdowns, and wide receiver Freddie Solomon who played well in three seasons with Miami and then won a couple of Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers in 1981 and 1984.
The only good thing about the Del Gaizo trade is that after the 1973 season, the Packers were able to unload the quarterback to the New York Giants in exchange for a third-round pick. Del Gaizo spent one season with the Giants before retiring from football prior to the 1975 season.
- Packers Send a First-Round Pick to the Chargers for CB Mossy Cade
The Packers sent a first round pick in the 1986 draft to the San Diego Chargers in exchange for the rights to cornerback Mossy Cade.
The Chargers had originally drafted the former Texas Longhorns star in the first round of the 1984 draft but he signed with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL. When that league folded, the Packers acquired Cade’s rights from the Chargers for a first round pick.
Cade never became a successful player in Green Bay. On the field, he lasted just two seasons. He started three games in 1985 before starting all 16 contests in 1986. He did intercept five passes over those two campaigns but was far from a standout at corner. The Packers finished 1986 a brutal 4-12.
The big issue with Cade was what happened off the field. Cade was arrested and later convicted of sexual assault in 1987. He served 15 months in jail for his crime and never played another NFL game.
The negative publicity of Cade’s arrest was one of the low points in Packers history. Sports Illustrated had a feature article on whether Green Bay was still capable of hosting an NFL team and morale throughout the organization was at an all-time low.
The Chargers used the pick that the Packers sent them to select offensive James FitzPatrick who played six seasons in the NFL with the Chargers and Raiders. The Packers were in a major rebuilding mode and really could have used that pick to help improve the franchise’s talent level.
- The Packers sent two first, two second and third round pick to the Rams for QB John Hadl
This remains one of the worst trades in NFL history, let alone in Packers history. In 1974, the Packers were struggling along with subpar quarterbacking but had a strong defense and were trying to stay in contention in the NFC playoff race. Jerry Tagge and Jack Concannon weren’t getting it done and Dan Devine desperately needed to win to keep his job as head coach and general manager.
Devine sent two first round picks, two second rounders and a third round pick to the Rams for 34-year-old John Hadl, a former AFL star and the 1973 NFL MVP. But by 1974, Hadl’s arm was sore and the Packers offense didn’t have the weapons necessary to save their season.
Hadl lasted a year and a half in Green Bay and threw nine touchdown passes and 29 interceptions. The Packers won only seven-of-19 games he started. It wasn’t Hadl’s fault, but the Packers spent way too much to get the aging quarterback. The Packers didn’t make the playoffs and Devine resigned at the end of the season to take the head coaching job at Notre Dame.
The Packers almost acquired Archie Manning from the Saints but a poor performance by backup quarterback Bobby Scott caused the Saints to back out of the deal at the last minute.
The Rams ended up with five players who helped them reach the Super Bowl in 1979 including defensive lineman Mike Fanning and cornerbacks Monte Jackson and Pat Thomas.
The lack of draft picks hampered Bart Starr’s ability to rebuild the Packers when he took over as coach the following year. The Packers would not make the playoffs in a non-strike season until 1993.
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