The 2004 NFL draft day trade between the then San Diego Chargers and the New York Giants shaped both franchises’ recent history.
The day was April 24, 2004, and the Chargers owned the first overall pick in the draft. Even though they already had a good quarterback in place in Drew Brees, who would go on to earn a Pro Bowl nod in 2004, rumors indicated the Chargers were going to select Eli Manning, the consensus best player in the draft.
However, Eli and his father had already stated that, if drafted by the Chargers, Manning would refuse to play for them.
When the Chargers were on the clock, they selected Manning, leading to arguably the most awkward draft moment of all time as Eli went on the stage and held up a Chargers jersey to pose for the photo with a visibly disgruntled face.
After the Giants selected Philip Rivers with the fourth overall pick, it was revealed that a trade had happened between the two teams. The terms of the trade were:
With the 2004 third-rounder, the Chargers selected Nate Kaeding, a two-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro kicker who brought stability to the Bolts’ kicking game for the eight seasons he played for the team. He left San Diego as the most accurate kicker in NFL history with 87 percent field goal accuracy, according to NFL.com.
The 2005 first-rounder was used to draft linebacker Shawne Merriman. He won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005 and was named to the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons. He was a first-team All-Pro twice and was a Second-team All-Pro once. Merriman started his career with a bang and was on track to become one of the all-time greats for the Chargers. Unfortunately, injuries derailed his career and he never played a full season again. He is still remembered and very respected among Chargers fans.
The 2005 fifth-round pick was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for veteran offensive tackle Roman Oben.
So, who won the trade?