Revisiting the Colts trading RB Marshall Faulk to St. Louis in 1999.
With very little buzz coming out of Colts training camp, it seems like an appropriate time to reminisce on what is widely regarded as one of the best trades — considering how well both teams benefited — in NFL history.
During the 1999 offseason, Colts running back Marshall Faulk was looking to renegotiate his contract, which had two years remaining before it expired. That prompted the Colts to search for a trade partner for the former MVP and, after months of failed attempts, eventually found one in the then-St. Louis Rams.
The Rams, desperate for a running back at the time, unloaded a second- and fifth-round pick in the 1999 Draft for Faulk. Let’s start by analyzing how this trade panned out for Indianapolis.
There’s no denying that Faulk was an integral component of the Colts offense, but their potential was never going to be realized if the keys weren’t handed to quarterback Peyton Manning, who really took off after his infamous rookie campaign in 1998. That year, Indianapolis finished 3-13 and the No. 1 overall pick led the NFL with a whopping 28 interceptions. The rest, as we know, is history.
Not only did the trade pave the way for Peyton, but it also gave the Colts an excuse to draft Edgerrin James at No. 4 overall that year. The former Miami Hurricane compiled five 1,000-yard campaigns in seven seasons with the franchise en route to being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a few months ago.
As far as the two acquired draft picks are concerned, Indy took outside linebacker Mike Peterson with the second-rounder. The Florida product lasted four seasons with the Colts, across which he registered a whopping 467 tackles, 20 passes defended, seven interceptions and 4.5 sacks. The fifth-rounder was used on defensive tackle Brad Scioli, who logged 134 tackles, 15 sacks and 12 passes defended in 80 appearances (27 starts).
That’s an absolutely ridiculous haul of production in return for a running back if you ask us.
The Rams, meanwhile, also reaped the benefits of this trade as they boasted the league’s best offense in each of Faulk’s first three seasons. The notion that St. Louis was missing a versatile RB that could do it all to take them over the top ultimately proved to be true as Faulk tallied three consecutive All-Pro nods from 1999 to 2001, logging at least 1,300 rushing yards in each of those campaigns.
In terms of team success, the Rams won a Super Bowl in his first season and went to another in 2001 during the Hall of Famer’s seven-year tenure.
If we’re talking long-term success here, the Colts obviously won this trade as they went to the playoffs in 11 of the 12 subsequent seasons, which included a Super Bowl title and three appearances in the AFC Championship Game.
There’s a reason it’s viewed as the best trade of all time, folks: Both teams wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if given the chance. That’s an extreme rarity in the NFL.