While any trade around the NFL has good intentions, a change of scenery does not always lead to the results hoped for.

In select cases, however, the deal surpasses expectations—even if a player was already an established star. This could be based on a Super Bowl victory, All-Pro selection or other major accolade in the season that immediately followed the trade.

This list is subjective but focused on active players who were dealt since the beginning of the offseason prior to the 2018 campaign.  

DeForest Buckner, DT

After the 2019 season, the San Francisco 49ers faced a difficult choice: offer a big-money extension to DeForest Buckner or explore his trade market. They picked the latter.

Buckner headed to the Indianapolis Colts, who sent the 49ers a first-round pick and signed him to a four-year, $84 million deal.

He immediately turned in a first-team All-Pro season.

The defensive tackle notched 9.5 sacks, which set a franchise record at his position. Buckner tallied 58 tackles and a career-high 26 quarterback hits, helping the Colts finish 11-5 and reach the playoffs for only the second time in six years.


Stefon Diggs, WR

Stefon Diggs had a solid five-season run with the Minnesota Vikings, averaging 73 catches for 925 yards and six touchdowns. He even collected a career-best 1,130 yards in 2019.

The ensuing offseason, though—sparked by a tweet—Diggs departed Minnesota for the Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo aimed to bolster its receiving corps for Josh Allen, who soared from an inefficient young quarterback to the MVP runner-up thanks to the wideout's arrival. Diggs led the NFL with 127 receptions and 1,535 yards, and he snared eight touchdowns in 2020.