In 2004, the Chargers drafted Eli Manning with the first pick in the draft. Three spots later, the Giants picked Philip Rivers. Eventually, the players were traded, with the Chargers getting some extra stuff including a 2005 first-round pick that was used to acquire Shawne Merriman.
This year, picks may not be traded after they are made, if the lockout has not ended.
“The Manning-Rivers type of trade cannot happen this year due to the lockout rules,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via e-mail on Friday. “A trade at this time can involve only draft picks. Once a pick is made, the player cannot be traded (or signed) until a new league start begins. No player transactions are currently permitted.”
Future draft picks may be traded as well. Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported last month that the league has informed teams that any team that gives up a 2011 draft pick for a future draft pick does so at its own risk, given the chance that the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit will result by next April in a ruling that the draft is illegal.