NFL players who were traded multiple times: Brandin Cooks joins list of seven stars who changed teams


Brandin Cooks, after two seasons with the Rams, is heading to Houston after Los Angeles traded the veteran receiver to the Texans on Thursday night. It marked the third time Cooks has been traded after breaking into the NFL with the Saints in 2014. Cooks, a four-time 1,000-yard receiver who helped the Patriots and Rams win conference championships, has joined a prominent group of players who were traded at least twice during their decorated careers. Here’s a look at that list along with a summary of how well those players fit with their new teams. 

Randy Moss

A first-ballot member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Moss spent his first seven NFL seasons in Minnesota before he was traded to Oakland prior to the start of the 2004 season. Moss caught 21 touchdowns during his two seasons with the Raiders before he was dealt to the Patriots for a fourth-round pick in 2007, a move that helped New England cap off the first undefeated 16-game regular season in NFL history. Moss caught a record 23 touchdown passes that season while helping Tom Brady become the first quarterback in league history to throw 50 touchdowns in a single season. Moss and the Patriots ultimately fell short of perfection, falling to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. 

Moss enjoyed two more productive seasons in New England before he was traded to the Titans midway through the 2010 season. After catching just six passes in eight games in Tennessee, Moss retired after the season before signing with the 49ers in 2012, catching three touchdowns that year while helping San Francisco reach the Super Bowl. He retired for good during the ensuing offseason. 

Eric Dickerson

Like Moss, Dickerson was also traded three times during his Hall of Fame career. Dickerson, the NFL’s single season all-time rushing leader (he gained 2,105 yards during the 1984 season) was traded from the Rams to the Colts on Halloween, 1987. The trade was entirely about money, as Dickerson felt he was underpaid and under-appreciated throughout his years with the Rams. 

Dickerson enjoyed immediate success in Indianapolis, as he led the NFL in rushing yards per game while helping the Colts advance to the playoffs for the first time after moving from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984. He won his fourth rushing title the following year while helping the Colts secure their second straight winning season. 

An injury near the end of the 1989 season, however, marked the beginning of the end for Dickerson and the Colts, as Dickerson began to openly complain about the lack of talent that surrounded him in Indianapolis. He was traded to the Raiders in 1992, where he spent one season before being traded to the Falcons in 1993. Despite an unceremonious end to his career, Dickerson, also like Moss, was earned induction into the Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility in 1999. 

Fran Tarkenton

Tarkenton, who retired in 1978 as the NFL’s career leader in passing yards, spent his first six seasons in Minnesota before being traded to the Giants before the start of the 1967 season. While he was a good player during his first go-around with the Vikings (earning two Pro Bowl selections), Tarkenton blossomed into one of the NFL’s best and most well-known players after joining the Giants, earning four consecutive Pro Bowl selections from 1967-70. 

But after winning just four of his 13 starts in 1971, Tarkenton was traded back to the Vikings during the 1972 offseason. And after one so-so season, Tarkenton elevated his and the Vikings’ play while helping Minnesota advance to three Super Bowls in a four-year span. Unfortunately for Tarkenton and the Vikings, Minnesota lost each Super Bowl while becoming the first franchise to lose four Super Bowl games (Minnesota also fell to the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV). 

During that stretch, Tarkenton earned three straight Pro Bowl selections that included his first All-Pro nod in 1975. Tarkenton also won league MVP honors that season after leading the NFL in touchdown passes. He won his first passing title in 1978 before retiring that offseason. Tarkenton was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986. 

Ted Hendricks

Nicknamed the “Mad Stork,” Hendricks, an outside linebacker, was drafted by the Colts shortly after Baltimore was shocked by Joe Namath and the Jets in Super Bowl III. Hendricks made an immediate impact on Baltimore’s already talented defense, as the Colts avenged their loss in Super Bowl III by defeating the Cowboys two years later in Super Bowl V. 

A three-time Pro Bowler during his five seasons in Baltimore, Hendricks, after an unsuccessful attempt to join the World Football League, was traded from Baltimore to Green Bay, where he earned All-Pro honors in 1974 (his only season with the Packers) before the team dealt his rights to the Raiders for a pair of first-round picks. 

Already a very good team, the Raiders became a championship team after acquiring Hendricks, who helped Oakland capture their first Super Bowl title (at Tarkenton and the Vikings’ expense) at the end of the 1976 season. From 1980-83, Hendricks earned four Pro Bowl and two All-Pro selections while helping the Raiders win two more Super Bowls before retiring after the team’s victory over Washington in Super Bowl XVIII. He earned induction into the Hall of Fame in 1990. 

Marshawn Lynch

After moderate success in Buffalo, Lynch became one of the NFL’s most productive running backs after being traded to Seattle (for a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 fifth-round pick) four games into the 2010 season. That postseason, his “Beast Quake” touchdown run propelled the Seahawks to an upset win over the defending champion Saints in the wild card round. Three years later, Lynch led the NFL in touchdown runs while helping the Seahawks capture their first Super Bowl title. He again led the league in rushing touchdowns the following season, as Seattle fell one yard shy of successfully defending their title in Super Bowl XLIX. 

After an injury-marred 2015 season, Lynch spent the 2016 season in retirement before announcing his desire to play for the Raiders, his hometown team, for the 2017 season. Seattle granted him his request, trading him to Oakland as the two teams swapped late-round picks in the 2018 draft. Lynch spent two seasons in Oakland before returning to the Seahawks as a free agent late in the 2019 season, helping Seattle defeat the Eagles in the first round of the playoffs. 

Brandon Marshall

A productive receiver who has earned six Pro Bowl selections during the course of his career, Marshall has been traded three times since breaking into the NFL with the Broncos in 2006. After three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in Denver, he was traded to Miami for a second-round pick in the 2010 draft. Marshall, who put together two more 1,000-yard seasons with the Dolphins, was dealt to Chicago during the 2012 offseason in exchange for a pair of third-round picks. Reunited with Jay Cutler (his quarterback in Denver), Marshall enjoyed his finest season, catching 118 passes for 1,508 yards 11 touchdowns while earning All-Pro honors. 

Marshall posted two more productive seasons in Chicago before the Bears traded him and their seventh-round pick to the Jets in exchange for New York’s seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft. Marshall put together another solid season, as he led the NFL with 14 touchdowns while helping the Jets fall just short of making the playoffs. Marshall’s success in the Big Apple wouldn’t last long, however, as he was released by the team following an unproductive season in 2016. He spent one season with the Giants before spending another season with the Seahawks in 2018. Marshall, who celebrated his 36th birthday last month, did not play in an NFL regular season game in 2019. 

Percy Harvin

An electric college player who helped the University of Florida capture two national titles in the 2000s, Harvin, a receiver and special teams standout, enjoyed immediate success in the NFL, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2009 while helping the Vikings advance to the NFC Championship Game. Injuries during the 2012 season led the Vikings to trade Harvin to the Seahawks in exchange for first and seventh-round picks in the 2013 draft along with a third-round pick in the 2014 draft. 

After suffering another injury that kept him sidelined for most of the regular season, Harvin made his biggest play as a Seahawk on the NFL’s biggest stage, returning the second-half kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII 87 yards for a score while helping Seattle finish off the Broncos. 

Harvin would play just eight more games with Seattle before the team traded him to the Jets in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2015 draft. Harvin spent just one season in New York before appearing in six games with the Bills during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Injuries ultimately forced Harvin to retire during the 2017 offseason. 





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