The Best Trade in Buffalo Bills History

Reports indicated that the Buffalo Bills intended on being very active at the start of the 2019 NFL season. Not only in acquiring free agents to improve the team, but also through trades. The Bills were originally interested in acquiring Antonio Brown and possibly Odell Beckham Jr., but it seems the Giants were trying to use the Bills as leverage in the trade with Cleveland.

What was the best trade in Buffalo Bills history? 

I ran a Twitter poll to see which of these four trades were the best in Bills history.

  • (2013) Bills traded linebacker Kelvin Sheppard for defensive end Jerry Hughes
  • (2015) Bills traded linebacker Kiko Alonso for running back LeSean McCoy
  • (1987) Bills traded running back Greg Bell, two first-round picks for linebacker Cornelius Bennett
  • (1982) Bills traded linebacker Tom Cousineau for three draft picks (one turned out to be quarterback Jim Kelly)

The winner of the poll for the best trade in Bills history was Tom Cousineau for the three picks (eventually Jim Kelly).

Cousineau was drafted first overall in the 1979 NFL Draft by the Bills. He never even played a snap for the Bills. Instead, he went to the Canadian Football League and played for the Montreal Alouettes.

In 1982, Cousineau wanted to come back and play in the NFL but the Bills still held his rights. The Houston Oilers tried to sign him to an offer sheet but the Bills matched. He didn’t want to play for the Bills, as they were known as being cheap. Eventually, the Bills were able to work out a deal to trade him to the Cleveland Browns for a first-round pick in the 1983 draft, as well as two picks in the 1984 draft.

With the 1983 draft pick that the Bills acquired in the trade, they drafted Jim Kelly. They had the same issue with Kelly, as he didn’t want to play in Buffalo. He signed with the United States Football League for the Houston Gamblers. When the USFL collapsed, Kelly had no choice but to play for Buffalo.

Kelly played in 11 seasons for the Bills. Kelly was the key in the Bills appearing in four consecutive Super Bowls in the early 90s. He rewrote the Bills history book and set every passing record for the team.

It makes sense why fans voted this trade as the best in Bills history. Buffalo took a player who never even played a single snap for the team, and exchanged him a Hall-of-Fame quarterback.

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