In a league where trades are the exception rather than the rule, the Redskins and Denver Broncos put the finishing touches Thursday on a blockbuster trade that sent Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey and a 2004 second-round draft pick to Denver for Pro Bowl running back Clinton Portis.
In just two NFL seasons, Portis has become one of the elite running backs in the league, rushing for 1,508 yards in 2002 and 1,591 yards last season. He averages 5.5 yards per carry and has scored 29 touchdowns in his career.
In trading Bailey, the Redskins gave up a four-time Pro Bowl cornerback regarded as one of the elite players in the league.
Portis is thought to be a perfect fit for Joe Gibbs' offense, which in the past has put an emphasis on the running game.
"For us, we just wanted a real good running back," Gibbs said during a February media session. "We had the big guy in John Riggins and we had Joe Washington. To me, running backs come in all packages and sizes. We had Earnest Byner who was a particular kind of guy who you'd say was in the middle when it came to size.
"So I think what you're looking for is a real good running back, someone who fits in and can make yards. One guy might be a little different in package than another. You'd love to get a complete guy. It just remains to be seen where we're going to wind up."
Portis, a University of Miami product and the Broncos' second-round draft pick in 2002, capped his rookie season by rushing for 228 yards on 24 carries, a 9.5-yard rushing average. It was the 16th best rushing performance in NFL history and second-best in Broncos history.
Last year, his best performance came late in the season in a Dec. 7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. He rushed for 218 yards on 22 carries and five touchdowns.
Portis, 22, has already recorded 18 100-yard rushing performances in his career.
As a junior at Miami, Portis rushed for 1,200 yards on 220 carries and helped guide the Hurricanes to an undefeated season and a national championship with a win over Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.
A native of Gainesville, Fla., Portis was a star running back and defensive back in high school. He also excelled in track and field, clocking 10.6 in the 100 meters and participating in a state-record 4x100-meter relay team (40.8).