Mover and shaker Joe Thomas of the San Francisco 49ers shook up the Eastern Division in the American Football conference yesterday with another deal and gave the NFC West some cause for concern.
The general manager of the 49ers traded running back Delvin Williams to the Miami Dolphins for their No. 1 and No. 5 choices in the May 2-3 draft, wide receiver Freddie Solomon and safety Vern Roberson.
The acquisition of Williams, one-time sprinter at Kansas who has been timed at 4.6 seconds for 40 yards, figures to strengthen Miami in the AFC East race. The Baltimore Colts won it in 1977 with a 10-4 record, the Dolphins also had a 10-4 record, and New England finished 9-5.
A representative of the Colts said they were concerned about Miami landing Williams. The Colts had offered unhappy tight end Raymond Chester and some fringe players to the 49ers for Williams.
But relations between Thomas and top-level Baltimore executive haven't been conducive to making deals since the Colts fired Thomas after the 1976 season.
It is understood that communications were established through Fred Schubach, player personnel director for the Colts, and Thoms.
If Miami gave up more than some observers though Williams was worth, it was speculated it was because the Dolphins were concerned that the rival Colts might have landed Williams.
Thomas had shaken up the NFC West in transactions for O. J. Simpson of the Buffalo Bills and kick returner-receiver Larry Jones of the Washington Redskins. Now, in addition to picking up the speed of wide receiver Solomon, who has been clocked at 4.3 for 40 yards, the 49ers are expected to go in the college draft for tight end Ken McAfee of Notre Dame or quarterbacks Matt Cavanaugh of Pittsburgh or Guy Benjamin of Stanford.
Thomas traded veteran tight end Tom Mitchell to the Redskins for Jones.
The 49ers have their own first-round pick seventh overall, and Miami's first pick, 24th overall, as Thomas tries to revitalize them in behalf of new Coach Pete McCulley, former receiver coach under Thomas at Baltimore and under George Allen in Washington.The 49ers will have six picks in the first five rounds.
"I know people were concerned that we were giving away all our draft picks in the O. J. Simpson trade, Thomas said, "but that's not the way I operate. This trade will offset practically the entire Simpson trade."
The 49ers gave the Bills for Simpson a No. 2 and No. 3 for 1978, a No. 1 and No. 4 for 1979, and a No. 2 for 1980.
Thomas quoted running back Williams, who was 27 yesterday as saying he "was very happy with the situation. He's going to a winning club and a fine organization."
A spokesman for the Dolphins said Coach Don Shula contracted Thomas, consummated the deal on Friday, but did not complete the paper work until yesterday.
"I realize it's a stiff price to pay," Shula said.
"But we feel we're getting an experienced player who has proven himself as a ball carrier, as a receiver and as a blocker. He's an exciting, breakaway runner. A lot of clubs were interested in Williams after the Simpson trade."
Shula said he liked the fact that Williams caught 80 passes in the last three years and gained more than 2,100 yards rushing in the last two (1,203 in 1976).
It was noted that Williams gained 481 yards of total offense and six touchdowns - 374 rushing and 107 receiving - in successive games against St. Louis and Washington in 1976, while San Francisco was losing both games.