John Clayton reflects back on the trade that sent Eli Manning to the Giants for Philip Rivers and some picks and thinks the Chargers look vindicated.
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith received a lot of criticism for making the Eli Manning trade on draft day three years ago. Manning didn’t want to go to the Chargers because he and his family didn’t believe the Chargers would amount to anything. After taking him with the first pick, Smith boldly made a trade that may go down in history as one of the greats of all-time.
Smith’s success was chronicled during the Pro Bowl voting. Quarterback Philip Rivers, linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding all made it as starters. That’s three Pro Bowlers for one player, and the timing of this couldn’t be better for the Chargers. Manning didn’t finish in the top six for NFC quarterbacks even though he had a playoff season in his first year as a full-time starter and is in the playoff hunt this year.
It’s right up there with the trade the Chargers made a couple seasons earlier, trading away the rights to take Michael Vick for picks that turned into LaDainlian Tomlinson and Drew Brees. Indeed, had the Chargers gotten one of the Giants’ young pass rushers instead of Rivers and thereby kept Brees, they’d likely be in even better shape.
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