Fifteen years ago Thursday, the Cowboys traded two No. 1 picks, one of whom became an MVP

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An NFL club trading two first-round picks straight-up for a wide receiver?

It happened 15 years ago Thursday, when the Cowboys dealt their 2000 and 2001 No. 1 picks to Seattle for Joey Galloway. (A hat tip to for jogging our memory.)

The trade ended a saga that saw Galloway hold out for half of the 1999 season, his final under contract to Seattle. He returned for the final eight regular-season games, and ultimately, an arbitrator ruled that he had earned an accrued year, thus making an unrestricted free agent. The Seahawks responded by giving him the franchise tag, then allowing Dallas to work out a deal.

The Cowboys were in need of receiving help with Michael Irvin’s NFL future in question because of a neck injury. And indeed, Irvin would retire later in 2000. But Galloway was limited to just one game in his first season with Dallas because of a torn ACL, and he never reached 1,000 yards receiving in three subsequent seasons with the Cowboys.

Galloway would go on to have a good deal of late-career success with the Buccaneers, racking up three 1,000-yard seasons in his mid-30s (2005-2007).

As for the No. 1 picks the Seahawks acquired? With the first of those picks, Seattle took tailback Shaun Alexander, who played a major role in the club’s first-ever Super Bowl trip and garnered AP MVP honors in 2005.

The 2001 first-round pick was traded to San Francisco, who took Andre Carter, who had a long and productive career. The Seahawks, who dropped down from No. 7 to No. 9 in the deal, took wideout Koren Robinson. (Note: The 49ers and Seahawks were still a year away from being NFC West competitors, as Seattle was still in the AFC at the time.)

The Galloway deal got us to thinking: would any wide receivers today be worth two first-round picks in trade? (For our purposes, let’s assume every player is available, even prospective free agents.)

We’ve listed a handful of blue-chip receivers in the poll below. Let us know via your votes and in the comments if two first-rounders for any current wide receiver is too much — or just right, for the right player.

60 responses to “Fifteen years ago Thursday, the Cowboys traded two No. 1 picks, one of whom became an MVP

  1. Calvin Jonhnson

    Larry at his prime

    MAYbe Dez Bryant, it would depend on the team and their QB and offensive system.

    Otherwise, no. One 1st, sure, a longer list. But 2? Yeek.

  2. I like how you left Dez Bryant out of the list. I don’t think he’s sending you any roses for Valentine’s day, PFT.


  3. Calvin Johnson has had a great career, but giving up 2 first-rounders at his current age (30 in September) is probably a bad move.

  4. Added Dez Bryant as soon as I saw he had been left off. Totally my mistake, as he was on the list. Certainly he belongs. Thanks for mentioning. — MW

  5. The only one I see is Dez Bryant.

    Calvin Johnson five years ago, yes…, no.
    Beckham was a rookie, let him do it a few more years before he’s crowned

  6. Early in his career Galloway was a freak. Speed, speed, and more speed. Heck of a playmaker til he got to Dallas and the bad luck hit. My only complaint with that trade was that for that price you need a guy who is more red zone and first down threat. Price was too high for a field stretcher.

  7. “And people say the Roy Williams trade was bad. At least he played.

    The Galloway trade was way worse.”

    And the Roy Williams trade was still awful.

  8. The reason the Watkins deal was so attractive to the Bills is you get him on a team friendly rookie deal for five years. These other receivers you have to pay WAY more up front for the same five years. Thus, they valued him more.

  9. Julio Jones is the only one i would consider it for.

    Dez is to much of a basket case.

    Megatron is still the best in the game, but he is at the tail end of his prime.

    Beckham has had one good year, and there as been plenty of flash in the pan, 1-year wonders.

  10. Johnson in his prime, Jones if he could stay healthy, Bryant and Brown if I had a QB in place. Thomas and Nelson are good but are products of their system. OBJ only has a partial season under his belt, too soon to make the call on him and Green disappears in big games.

  11. Very few players in this league are worth 2 1rst rnd pks. Especially a guy in the draft. Hindsight is 20/20, but the Bills could have stayed pat and got OBeckham. No WR that touches the ball 6-8 times/gm is worth it IMO. ARodgers or JJWatt, OK. Really, that’s about it.

  12. The problem is 1st round picks are still iffy. Would you trade one great player for a chance at two good to great ones?

    That being said, Jerry was deep into his crazy years back then. He seems to have figured this whole GM thing out the last 4 years or so. Only took 18 years to do so.

  13. Whoa, whoa, whoa! I think you have an obvious typo in your story, I’ve been the Seahawks biggest 12 since the team started playing in 2012. Please correct.


    99% of all of the Seahawks “biggest” fans these days.

  14. If you pick a wide receiver in the first round, you’re hoping he turns into a star like these guys. It often takes 2-3 years for a wide receiver to make it to that status. I’d say it’s worth giving up another first-round pick for the guarantee that the guy is going to work out and the immediate impact. Buffalo gave up two first-round picks for Sammy Watkins and there were no guarantees with that.

  15. No receiver is worth 2 first rounders. There are barely any QBs worth that. Joey Galloway certainly wasn’t worth it. He was a good talent, but he was never an upper echelon receiver. However, his Buccaneer days underline what I think was always Jon Gruden’s biggest asset despite him being dubbed an “offensive” or QB guru. He was a terrific WR coach who got great play out of players like Galloway, Antonio Bryant, and even Keyshawn Johnson well above what they seemed capable of before he worked with them.

  16. Guys, Odell Beckham is an obvious choice. You’re getting a guy you know can play for mid-first round rookie money in the rookie wage scale era.

    We can talk about whether you should trade two firsts for anyone, but a stud receiver for $3.5 million per year locked up for the next three? I’ll take him over anyone else on the list. Yes, including Calvin johnson and his, what? $20 million a year?

    The reason you want first round picks is the opportunity to get a stud at rookie prices. If you could get a second-year stud, which removes the uncertainty of the pick, you do it for two firsts.

  17. 2 Draft choices were paid to get Sammy Watkins, but who is the QB? That’s the problem with Buffalo paying that price.

  18. The problem with stories like this is that people always forget that sports do not occur in a vacuum. There is no guarantee that Dallas would have chosen Alexander and Carter if they didn’t trade the picks. They could have easily selected Stockar McDougle and David Terrell who were picked next.

    There is also no guarantee that Alexander and Carter would have been as successful in the NFL in Dallas. Alexander worked out in part because he was running behind Walter Jones and the rest of Seattle’s O-line. Dallas didn’t have Walter Jones.

    If I thought any of these guys would put me over the top, I’d trade two first round picks for them in a heartbeat.

  19. The Packers have had a pretty good receiving corp since 2006… None of their wideouts selected in the 1st round.

    You can build a receiving corp in the 2nd-5th rounds.

    Spend the first round pick on an actual impact player.

  20. baronvonmonocle says:
    Feb 12, 2015 6:18 PM

    So, can we expect to see retrospectives on the anniversaries of other teams’ mistakes or just when it’s the Cowboys?

    Fair and balanced.

    I seem to recall quite a bit being written on the anniversary of the Herschel Walker trade.

  21. axespray says:
    Feb 12, 2015 6:13 PM

    The Packers have had a pretty good receiving corp since 2006… None of their wideouts selected in the 1st round.

    You can build a receiving corp in the 2nd-5th rounds.

    Spend the first round pick on an actual impact player.

    I wonder if the quarterback has anything to do with that?

    Oh, and it’s corps.

  22. Depends on the team. If it’s a terrible team that is drafting in the Top 10 this year and probably next year, there isn’t a single player in the league worth trading two first round picks for.

    But say you are the Patriots. Picking last in the first round this year and probably in the bottom of the 1st round next year, do you really think the two players they would get with those picks will be more impactful over the next 10 years than Odell Beckham Jr. will be?

    Of course it works both ways. The Giants would probably not even make that deal whereas they might do it with the Browns or Jags.

  23. The guys in the seats behind me used to chant “Give it to Jooeeeyyy”. The Seahawks would run a reverse with him once a game, he’d hit the afterburners and smoke everyone.

    The knock on him was he never ran at full speed in practice, so the QB’s couldn’t get timing down.

    Getting Alexander for him was a steal.

  24. “I seem to recall quite a bit being written on the anniversary of the Herschel Walker trade.”


    The Walker trade was historic because its absurd one-sidedness led directly to a Dallas dynasty.

    The Galloway trade was awful for Dallas, yes. But it’s not even close to as impactful as the Walker trade was.

    There’s no other team this kind of article would be written for, but that’s because Dallas is the team everyone loves to hate.

    PFT and ALL media outlets know this and their content reflects that. Hard to blame them.

  25. It’s not just a question of the number of pick but that there were no conditions if the picks were in the top 15 that marked the stupidity of the trade. As has often been the case with JJ he was totally wrong as to where the team was let alone the value of the players involved in trades.

    You should never trade picks that can end high in the draft order without you knowing in advance. I can rarely think of a high level trade involving a #1 that favored the team offering a pick, it’s almost always the traded player that underperforms. The money cap impact is the other side of the folly as well. Draft picks keep payroll manageable while FAs and high profile trades bloated the Dallas budget.

    The Roy Williams trade was still worse than this. Add the Ware, Ratliff and Austin insanity final contracts and you see the chronic JJ top heavy problem. The Romo contract is another one that is a play away from another lost decade.

  26. Issue is 2 1st round picks and i have to pay the wr over $13million a year then get rid of him because i can’t afford that huge contract to sign other pieces… hell no

  27. Who was Roy Williams traded for? I thought he was a free agent and that jj had just jumped too fast to sign him a big worthless contract before anyone else could get a chance. More than likely I’m wrong so that’s why “I’m asking! “

  28. Who was Roy Williams traded for? I thought he was a free agent and that jj had just jumped too fast to sign him a big worthless contract before anyone else could get a chance. More than likely I’m wrong so that’s why “I’m asking! “

    I think he was traded for a draft pick, from the Lions, I remember thinking the Lions made a boneheaded trade at the time, but then Roy fell apart.

  29. Why all the Seattle hate still? You trolls got what you wanted: The Patriots are the GOAT. Isn’t that what you wanted? Greatest quarterback… Greatest team…Greatest coach. Boston owns you chumps now and all you can do is bash on the Seahawks and their fans? Pathetic.

  30. This question cannot be answered on a blanket basis, think about it. My team, the Redskins (take your trash-talking elsewhere, I get it; we suck, cool) needs help all over the place. Building through the draft is the only way we’ll ever turn things around, and given our current crop of receivers it doesn’t make sense to trade two first rounders for any WR (not to mention we did that for a QB and, well, yeah).

    Now, let’s take the Seahawks: loaded at most positions defensively, and offensively they have the right players for their current scheme. Their biggest weakness on offense? WR & TE, without question. So if they were to trade this year’s first- at 31 I believe- and next years first (which is likely to be 20+ based on early predictions) for say Dez Bryant (understanding the fact he likely won’t leave Dallas, but we’re talking hypothetically), is this a bad look for Seattle?

    I say absolutely not, in fact I’d be in favor of this trade if I were a Hawks fan. It’s all about what you’ve done in recent drafts to build your core of young talent, and if you’ve succeeded both early & late in drafts you have an obvious advantage in future years. The key is figuring out what your needs are AND the best way to address them- for most teams, building through the draft is the only way to re-build and/or stay relevant. But some organizations, like Seattle, have the core already but need a true play-maker on offense outside QB & RB (assuming Lynch stays put, which is another discussion entirely) to solidify their team.

    My point is, this “experiment” contains different thought processes depending what team you’re talking about.

  31. The way the Steelers have been drafting LB’s of late I would give up at least 2 first round picks for JJ Watt

  32. I loved it in week 17 of 2013 when Kyle Orton threw the losing interception against the Eagles to keep Dallas from making the playoffs, and the Cowboys’ owner yelled at his GM and president.

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