There is absolutely no doubt that the Green Bay Packers are one of the most heralded and highly regarded franchises in the history of the NFL. Winning a slew of Super Bowl titles while becoming a perennial playoff team over the years, the Packers have done just about everything right since the team’s inception all the way back in 1919.
Typically drafting well in addition to signing more than a few notable free agents over the years, the Packers aren’t necessarily known for the franchise’s eagerness to make trades. Although there have certainly been some trades for the Packers here and there, one major swap obviously stands out more than the rest and even changed the course of the franchise forever.
It is also worth noting that the Packers encountered quite a bit of success many years ago, a time that did not see trades readily happening while such moves are still pretty scarce for the NFL even today.
1. Brett Favre (1992)
Although it is often massive names that the organization signed by way of the free agent market or selected themselves during the NFL Draft process that receive most of the praise in regards to the Packers franchise, it was actually a trade that ultimately became the most notable roster move in team history.
Originally selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft out of Southern Miss, a little known fact to the casual football fan, Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre was then traded to the Packers prior to the start of the 1992 NFL season. Even though the Falcons did manage to recoup a first-round pick for that same year in exchange for Favre, it is hard to defend such a move by Atlanta knowing everything that is known today.
Remaining with the Packers all the way from 1992 until 2007, Favre reached 10 Pro Bowls with Green Bay while also leading the team to a victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. A three-time All-Pro selection, two-time Bert Bell NFL Player of the Year Award winner and one-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, the legendary Favre also captured not one, not two but three NFL MVP Awards as well. As it stands today, it would certainly take at least another Super Bowl victory and a few more NFL MVP Awards for fellow Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to dethrone Favre as the best all-around player in franchise history.
Although there is at least an argument that can be made, the laundry list of memories that Favre provided Packers fans is just simply tough to beat as the Green Bay franchise is now synonymous with the Hall of Fame signal caller and vice versa.
2. Ahman Green (2000)
Arguably the best running back in the history of the Green Bay Packers franchise, longtime NFL running back Ahman Green did not begin his time atop the highest level with the heralded NFC North franchise.
Green Bay originally acquired Green by way of a trade from the Seattle Seahawks in 2000 while the Packers also managed to add a fifth-round pick in the same deal. In exchange for Green, who would go on to become the Packers’ all-time leading rusher, Green Bay was forced to part ways with defensive back Fred Vinson and a sixth-round selection. When it is put that way, it is hard to see how this trade was even executed by Seattle.
Remaining in Green Bay between 2000 and 2006 (before returning for another go-round in 2009), Green went on to rush for an impressive 8,322 yards and 54 touchdowns across 104 games in green and yellow. His 8,322 rushing yards as a member of the Packers remains the best all-time mark in team history. It is also worth noting that Green reached four Pro Bowls during his time with the Packers as his success in Green Bay was certainly not just a flash in the pan despite the fact that he was initially more or less tossed aside by the Seahawks back in 2000.
3. Al Harris (2003)
Former NFL cornerback Al Harris served as a staple of the Packers’ defense for many years while the veteran defender is often attributed to the NFC North franchise whenever his name is brought up in football circles. However, Harris actually began his NFL playing career as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles before eventually being traded to the Packers following the conclusion of the 2002 campaign.
Green Bay originally acquired Harris and a fourth-round pick with a second-round selection heading back to Philadelphia in exchange for his services.
Going on to spend the majority of his NFL tenure in Green Bay between 2003 and 2010, Harris reached his only two career Pro Bowls during his time with the Packers. Sometimes a change of scenery helps players and even turns their careers around, but the Packers definitely fleeced the Eagles a bit here, especially in retrospect as Harris did quite well in Green Bay.
4. Jordan Love (2020)
Obviously, this trade cannot be qualified or quantified at the present moment as soon-to-be rookie quarterback Jordan Love has yet to even suit up atop the highest level. However, the Packers have put themselves in position to potentially have only three franchise quarterbacks over the course of more than 30 seasons with the signal-caller tandem of Favre and Rodgers initially holding down the fort.
Of course, Rodgers is still the team’s bona fide starter under center with Love now officially waiting in the wings. If Rodgers ultimately leaves Green Bay and Love becomes the next stellar quarterback for the famed franchise, trading up to select him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft would definitely be worth it.
Even after trading the 30th overall pick in the 2020 draft—alongside a fourth-round pick—to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the 26th overall pick and ultimately the services of Love, it will be quite some time until all of this truly comes together in Green Bay—if it even happens at all.
5. Mike McKenzie (2004)
Longtime NFL defensive back Mike McKenzie split his professional playing career between the Packers and New Orleans Saints while leaving his stamp on both franchises before all was said and done.
A ball-hawk that helped lead some impressive Packers teams during his time in Green Bay, McKenzie notably inked a five-year, $17.1 million contract extension with the Packers in 2002. However, just a few years later in 2004, McKenzie prompted a hold out that ultimately resulted in the the Packers trading him away to the Saints.
Although McKenzie did have a few stellar seasons with the Saints, his time in New Orleans—and his NFL career as a whole—eventually ended with a slew of injury troubles in both 2007 and 2008. Because the Packers employed McKenzie for the best seasons of his career, didn’t eventually have to pay him for the entirety of his contract extension and received a second-round pick—and third-string quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan—in exchange for his services, Green Bay managed to come out on top in this situation.