Matt Maiocco has already mentioned that former second-round pick RB LaMichael James may not be a great fit with the 49ers and now suggests that James could find himself on the trading block later in the offseason.
“As for LaMichael James, there is no way he still has second-round value in a trade. His value is not as great because he has only two seasons remaining on his contract,” Maiocco writes, via CSN Bay Area. “…James could find himself on the trade block with a running back corps that could consist of [Frank] Gore, [Marcus ]Lattimore, Kendall Hunter, Jewel Hampton and any other offseason additions. ”
Maiocco adds that the 49ers will need to have a replacement for James in the return game for this to even be considered. According to Maiocco, James value has likely decreased considerably and the fact that he has just two years remaining on his rookie contract could also affect the kind of trade compensation they could receive.
The 49ers had James active for just 10 games in 2013, which had a lot to do with him being slotted as the No. 4 running back on the team’s depth chart. To make matters worse, James played just 28 snaps this season and totaled 59 yards on 12 carries.
There was a lot of talk that James could be the next Darren Sproles coming out of Oregon, but every small running back is compared to Sproles in some fashion nowadays with very few even coming close to being as effective of an NFL player as Sproles has consistently been.
It’s hard to say what the 49ers will ultimately do with James, who appears to be disappointed with his role in San Francisco, but at least an interesting idea and a topic that we’ll be keeping an eye on in the coming months.