49ers Rumors: LaMichael James Trade Priority with Marcus Lattimore Healthy, NY Jets Target if Chris Johnson Deal Fails as Ravens Option After Ray Rice Arrest

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Apr 04, 2014 10:03 AM EDT
LaMichael James
San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James reacts to a play against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 3, 2013. (Photo : Rueters) "

Lamichael James has been facing trade rumors for most of his career with the San Francisco 49ers. The running back has never seemed to fit with the team and questions have come up about his commitment and work ethic on the field. James could be a quality running back for a team willing to use him, something the 49ers are reluctant about. So with the NFL Draft approaching, James is once again circulating the trade wagon.

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The 49ers are not using James and might never use James. Right now, Frank Gore is the lead back and star of San Francisco. The veteran put up 1128 yards last season along with nine touchdowns. Behind him was quarterback Colin Kaepernick with 524 rushing yards. James was a distant fourth with 59 total yards. Pair those numbers with the fact that Marcus Lattimore is expected to be healthy causing the gushing of head coach Jim Harbaugh and James is as good as gone.

ESPN.com reports that while San Francisco is not actively shopping the running back, it is the trade the team is most likely to pull off prior to the draft. Bill Williamson notes that James does not fit with the 49ers and still has value considering his fresh legs and youth. While he may not be worth something as high as a first or second round pick, James could garner something in the third round, loading up San Francisco for the middle rounds.

There is a growing market for running backs and James could find some interest for teams that miss out on Chris Johnson. The New York Jets, Giants and Dallas Cowboys are all targeting the veteran and could make a run for James if they fail to make a deal during free agency. James essentially has the legs of a rookie. San Francisco barely used him in two years. The running back only has 184 yards in two seasons after finishing out his college career as a Heisman trophy finalist.

A darkhorse for a trade could be the Baltimore Ravens. The team missed out on signed LeGarrette Blount. Right now, it is unclear exactly what the status of Ray Rice will be when the season begins. Rice was indicted by a grand jury on third-degree aggravated assault after an altercation between he and is wife. Bernard Pierce is not ready to be the lead back and Vonta Leach is no longer on the roster. Adding James would be the perfect move.

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