The Redskins traded for Clinton Portis in 2004, sending cornerback Champ Bailey and a second-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos. The trade was one of the most blockbuster deals in NFL history at the time, and it remains one of the most debated to this day.
The blockbuster trade
The trade came as a surprise to many in the NFL, as both Portis and Bailey were young, star players. Portis was a two-time Pro Bowler who had rushed for over 3,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. Bailey was a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the top cornerbacks in the league.
Why did the Broncos trade Portis?
The Broncos were reportedly looking to get younger and more athletic on defense. Bailey was a perfect fit for that plan, as he was still only 26 years old and was considered to be one of the best cover corners in the NFL.
Why did the Redskins trade for Portis?
The Redskins were looking to add a dynamic playmaker to their offense. Portis was a versatile running back who could run between the tackles, catch the ball out of the backfield, and even throw the ball on occasion.
The legacy of the trade
The trade had a mixed impact on both teams. The Broncos went on to win the AFC West division in 2004 and reach the AFC Championship Game. However, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in that game and failed to advance to the Super Bowl.
The Redskins also made the playoffs in 2004, but they were eliminated in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks. Portis went on to have a solid career in Washington, rushing for over 1,000 yards in five of his seven seasons with the team. However, the Redskins never made it past the first round of the playoffs during his time there.
Who won the trade?
It is difficult to say definitively who won the Portis-Bailey trade. Both players had successful careers, but neither team was able to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl.
A statistical comparison
If we look at the statistics, it is clear that Bailey had the better career. He was a 12-time Pro Bowler and a five-time All-Pro selection. He also won a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in 2016.
Portis, on the other hand, was a two-time Pro Bowler and a one-time All-Pro selection. He never reached the Super Bowl.
A subjective assessment
Ultimately, who won the Portis-Bailey trade is a matter of opinion. Some people will argue that Bailey was a better player and that the Broncos won the trade. Others will argue that Portis was a more important player to his team and that the Redskins won the trade.
The Portis-Bailey trade was one of the most fascinating and controversial trades in NFL history. It is a trade that will continue to be debated for years to come.