Jimmy Garoppolo may be the only other player on the team. 49ers have endeared themselves to the fans more than wide receiver Richie James Jr. It doesn’t matter what it was a kick return two years ago, or a big night against the Packers last year in a game that was 31-3 in the third quarter, scores of fans continue to view James as a hidden gem just waiting for a bigger opportunity.
In today’s Niners Nation Oh Hey There podcastJavier Vega & Leo Luna questioned if this should continue in a segment called Finance, Lease or Walk-Off.
“We’ve test-driven this car, and we don’t like this car,” Vega said, “I will be walking off the lot. It’s not the right car, not the right anything. It’s over at this point. You’ve had your time. You’ve had opportunities to win a starting role. You were the anomaly player against the Packers. You’re dropping passes. You don’t bring anything in special teams anymore. It’s over.”
It’s hard to argue with that sentiment, even before James couldn’t hang on to the ball on Saturday night (he reportedly had another drop during Tuesday’s practice). He’s played in the NFL for three years and has more fumbles than touchdowns.
The 49ers had an awful special teams unit last season that gave away more than any other team in the league (4). James was the leader of that unit, with two turnovers. Trey Taylor (the infamous Dante Pettis) were the other two players who contributed in that area.
His NFL career is quite frankly notable for the backflips he does after wins.
Although it may be difficult for some (and I do enjoy the backflip), James has now been offered a roster spot. Between Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Trent Sherfield, Jauan Jennings, Mohamed Sanu, and Nsimba Webster, the bar to be a part of the wide receiver room has been raised, and the simple facts say that James doesn’t reach it any longer.
Other topics covered in the episode
- Why Kyle Shanahan needs to admit there’s a QB competition
- Why Lance’s debut was more impressive than it looked
- Jaquiski Tartt’s uncertain future with the 49ers
- Which defensive rookie’s performance are you buying into?