How five recent trades for top QB in NFL draft ended in disaster

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Matt Maiocco
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Recent history shows 49ers' trade-up could end in disaster originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Five teams in the past decade have traded into the top three of the draft to select quarterbacks.

With the New York Jets’ trade of Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers on Monday, none of those quarterbacks are employed by the teams that went up to get them.

Also, none of the head coaches remain from those failed moves.

If things go spectacularly wrong, could the 49ers' trade from No. 12 to No. 3 lead to the eventual departures of coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch?

“It’s an important move,” former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum said on 49ers Talk. “There’s no two ways about it. But they’ve done a great job. They haven’t batted a thousand. They got Solomon Thomas wrong. No one bats a thousand.

“But if you look at the totality of the program and its trajectory, I think they’ve done a really good job. And if I’m the Yorks, I think they deserve to be there for quite a while.”

Here’s a look at those previous times in the past decade in which teams targeted and traded up for quarterbacks high in the draft:

Washington

In 2012, Washington traded up from No. 6 to select Robert Griffin III at No. 2 — one spot behind Andrew Luck. Although Mike Shanahan was the head coach and the de facto general manager, this move was orchestrated by owner Daniel Snyder and then-team president Bruce Allen.

Griffin had a strong rookie season with Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator. But he was later injured and struggled mightily before getting benched in December 2013.

Mike Shanahan was fired at the end of the 2013 season. Griffin struggled in 2014 and was deactivated for all of 2015 before he was released after that season.

Snyder fired Allen after the 2019 season.

L.A. Rams

The Rams traded all the way from No. 15 with the Tennessee Titans to take Jared Goff at the top of the 2016 draft. The Rams also dealt a future first-round pick, two second-round picks and two third-round picks to Tennessee.

Coach Jeff Fisher did not even make it through that season. General manager Les Snead remains in the same role.

Sean McVay was hired as Rams coach in 2017. After the 2020 season, the Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade to acquire Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions in exchange for Goff, first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, and a third-rounder this year.

Philadelphia Eagles

In 2016, the Eagles traded up from No. 8 overall with the Cleveland Browns to hop into the draft slot at No. 2 overall. There, Philadelphia selected Carson Wentz one spot behind Goff.

Philadelphia also traded a first-round pick in 2017, a second-round pick in 2018, and third- and fourth-round picks in 2016.

Wentz looked like a superstar in his second NFL season. But a torn ACL ended his year. The Eagles went on to win a Super Bowl with Nick Foles at quarterback. Wentz never returned to the same level. He got benched last season for Jalen Hurts, a second-round pick in 2020.

The Eagles traded Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts this offseason for a third-round pick and a conditional second-round pick next year.

Even though he was just three years removed from a Super Bowl title, coach Doug Pederson was fired after the 2020 season. General manager Howie Roseman remains with the club.

RELATED: Schefter confident 49ers will draft Jones at No. 3

 

N.Y. Jets

In 2018, the Jets gave up their pick at No. 6 overall, as well as three second-round selections to move up three spots for Sam Darnold, who started 38 games in three seasons but never had much support around him.

Head coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan were fired after Darnold’s rookie season. Adam Gase’s two seasons as head coach were a disaster, leading the Jets to replace him with former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

On Monday, Darnold was shipped to Carolina, as he looks to reboot his career. The Jets are expected to select BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall draft pick later this month.

Chicago Bears

In 2017, the Bears found a trade partner with the 49ers. The Bears moved from No. 3 overall to No. 2 to ensure they would get Mitchell Trubisky, the quarterback they coveted. The 49ers received a third-round pick and a fourth-rounder that year, as well as another third-round selection the next year.

The trade did not work out for either side, as the 49ers selected rotational defensive lineman Solomon Thomas at No. 3 overall.

Bears coach John Fox was fired after one season with Trubisky. Matt Nagy replaced Fox. General manager Ryan Pace remains with the organization.

The Bears did not pick up the fifth-year option on Trubisky, ending his run with the Bears after 50 starts in four seasons. He signed a one-year contract to be Josh Allen’s backup with the Buffalo Bills.

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