It’s fitting that the quarterback traded last week by the team Paul Brown founded would help enhance the reputation of one of Brown’s best known pupils.
In his most recent Monday Morning Quarterback column, Peter King of SI.com compares the Carson Palmer trade to Oakland to the circumstances that brought another former West Coast, Heisman-winning quarterback to the Raiders more than 30 years ago. The Raiders didn’t trade for Jim Plunkett, who would win two Super Bowls with the organization; they got him off the street, after two disappointing seasons in San Francisco.
It was the Niners who traded for Plunkett, getting him from the Pats for quarterback Tom Owen, two first-round picks in 1976, and first- and second-round picks in 1977. And then the 49ers sent second- and third-round picks in 1978, first- and fourth-round picks in 1979, and a second-round pick in 1980 to Buffalo for O.J. Simpson, who at the time was 31.
Thus, when Bill Walsh became the coach of the 49ers in 1979, he was operating with one hand tied behind his back, and he still put together one of the best teams the NFL ever has seen. Walsh laid the foundation during his first draft with the team; the Bills squandered the first overall pick on linebacker Tom Cosineau, and in round three Walsh picked a guy named Joe Montana.