49ers release LaMichael James after giving him just 139 snaps since drafting him
James apparently requested his release in an effort to actually earn playing time somewhere else in the league and the 49ers apparently were fine with that. The two snaps James played in Sunday’s game were probably the final straw for the former Oregon product.
In fact James’ playing time has been going steadily downhill, and it wasn’t starting from a particularly high point to begin with. In 2012 James got his first taste of NFL action as a rookie in Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins, playing 16 snaps. He played in every remaining game of the season including a dozen snaps in the Super Bowl, averaging 14 snaps a game.
Things were supposed to improve in his second season but 2013 saw him play just 136 snaps all season, cracking double-digits just once.
James has carried the ball just 41 times in the NFL for 184 yards, adding five receptions for 45 yards while a score in the NFC Championship game as a rookie remains his only NFL touchdown.
He remains however a talented player and impressive athlete, and should at least get looked at by teams needing an injection of pace and playmaking ability on offense. The bottom line with James is that we have seen too little of him in the NFL to accurately assess his career one way or the other.
The bad news is that the only people for whom that is not true are the San Francisco 49ers, and they were happy enough to release him and let him catch on anywhere that would give him an offer. That is far from a ringing endorsement.