Since the franchise's inception in the 1960s, the Bills have made a number of trades that played a pivotal part in the team's history. One Bills Live hosts John Murphy and Steve Tasker break down some of the most interesting trades in team history below.
Tonight, fans can tune into 'Top 10 trades in Bills history' presented by Aesthetic Associates Centre on MSG at 8 pm. The show will feature interviews with former players, general managers and other Bills supporters who will breakdown these transactions and the impact they had on the franchise.
1. Most lopsided trade in team history …
John Murphy: There are many candidates including one that didn't go Buffalo's way. The 1967 deal that sent quarterback Daryl Lamonica to the Oakland Raiders was a rough one for the Bills. Lamonica and wide receiver Glenn Bass went to the Raiders in exchange for quarterback Tom Flores and end Art Powell. Lamonica went on to play the rest of his career in Oakland, winning four straight AFL West titles and the AFL Championship. The trade marked the end of Buffalo's AFL Championship run. … However, the most lopsided trade in franchise history was the 1982 deal that sent linebacker Tom Cousineau to the Browns for a first round draft pick in 1983. The Bills used that pick (14th overall) from Cleveland and chose future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. Cousineau played six years in the NFL with the Browns and the 49ers and never went to a Pro Bowl.
Steve Tasker: The Tom Cousineau for Jim Kelly trade. Trading a guy who didn't want to be in Buffalo for a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback is a no brainer. When you look at the fine print we here in Buffalo can acknowledge the dark humor in taking Kelly with the pick and then being spurned again by another player that didn't want to live in Buffalo. Kelly did not join the Bills until 1986. But like people who live in Buffalo know – once you try it you'll like it. Kelly did and he has never regretted it.
2. Trade that most surprised you in team history …
Murphy: By far, the most shocking deal in franchise history was the Cornelius Bennett trade on Halloween 1987. I got the call at home (pre twitter) while raking leaves around 11 am that day to come out to the stadium for a news conference. Bennett, the No. 2 overall pick in the 1987 draft, was unsigned by the Colts. Indianapolis sent Bennett to Buffalo in exchange for former Bills first round pick running back Greg Bell, and Buffalo's first round picks in 1988 and '89 and the Bills second rounder in 1989. The Colts then sent those picks to the Rams to get running back Eric Dickerson. It was the biggest deal of the decade and Bennett became the final piece of the Super Bowl puzzle for the Bills. No one saw it coming—no whispers, no rumors, no predictions. It was a bona fide shocker.
Tasker: The trade that surprised me most was a trade that happened when I was with the team. The blockbuster deal that brought Cornelius Bennett to Buffalo through a three-team trade with the Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis and Buffalo. This trade was particularly surprising because it happened just after the 1987 players strike was settled. The proximity of those two events, both of which were rare occurrences, made it both surprising AND unusual.
3. Best trade for a player currently on the Bills roster …
Murphy: The 2013 trade that brought Jerry Hughes to Buffalo is a close second. But two years later, the move to acquire LeSean McCoy in 2015 was the best trade for a current Bills player. The Eagles were looking to move McCoy and rushed into a deal to take linebacker Kiko Alonso in exchange. Alonso has since moved on to Miami, and McCoy keeps chugging along. Shady has averaged 1,100 yards per season in his three years in Buffalo and he has burnished his credentials as a Hall of Fame candidate. Expect more of the same this year.
Tasker: The best trade involving a player on the Bills current roster for me is the Kiko Alonzo for LeSean McCoy trade. A journeyman linebacker for a potential Hall of Fame running back with a huge amount of gas in his tank during the prime of his career made the Bills look absolutely brilliant.
4. The Bills traded for productive running backs LeSean McCoy, Willis McGahee and Greg Bell. Who produced the best individual season with the team?
Murphy: McGahee had a couple of good seasons with the Bills, but no one has had the impact Shady McCoy has had when it comes to running back trade pick-ups. His 2016 season, when he ran for 1,267 yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and added 50 rececptions was the best in my opinion.
Tasker: LeSean McCoy had the best season when he helped the team lead the NFL in rushing in 2016. Without Shady, the Bills would have struggled mightily. Maybe the numbers favor another season, but of these three players, none had a season that was more important at the time.