The LA Chargers robbed the New York Giants by trading Eli Manning.
However, there was such an obvious answer to this experiment that we decided to switch it up. Instead of it being a “duh” article about how the Eli Manning for Philip Rivers swap was the best trade the team made with New York, we wanted to just highlight how much of a robbery it was for the Chargers.
It was a highway robbery. At the moment, the Chargers were made out to be the foolish team for drafting the quarterback that refused to play there. However, the trade was absolutely brilliant.
Breaking down the LA Chargers-New York Giants quarterback swap:
The LA Chargers drafted the quarterback that wanted no part in being a Charger and got a king’s ransom in return for him. Not only did the Chargers still get a quarterback in Philip Rivers, who was picked just three picks later, but they got a huge return for the Giants essentially moving up three spots in the draft.
The Chargers got the Giants’ third-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, which turned into Nate Kaeding. While Kaeding missed some big kicks, he is still one of the best and longest-tenured kickers in Chargers’ history. Drafting a kicker in the third round is a weird move but the Chargers did it and Kaeding was a staple of the team.
The team had the Giants’ first-round pick the following year to look forward to as well and that pick ended up being Shawne Merriman, who should have been one of the greatest pass rushers in Chargers, and league, history.
Merriman was putting up unprecedented numbers. Merriman was fifth all-time in the number of sacks in the first three seasons and was a Pro Bowler in all three years and an All-Pro once.
Injuries caught up to Merriman and his career turned into one of the biggest what-ifs in team history. However, even if we just evaluate those three seasons, this was a huge addition to the trade.
Then you look at Rivers himself. While Manning has the edge in Super Bowl, largely in part due to the team around him, Rivers has been the better quarterback throughout their careers.
Rivers has a better overall record (123-101) than Manning (117-117), a career completion percentage that is 4.4 percent higher, over 2,000 more yards, 29 more touchdowns, 46 fewer interceptions and a passer rating that is 11 points higher.
Not only did the LA Chargers get a steal for swapping Manning for Rivers, but they got the better overall quarterback in the process as well.
This trade was a highway robbery, and the sad part is, it still led to two Super Bowls for the New York Giants and zero for the LA Chargers.