The San Francisco 49ers might be stressing that LaMichael James' future is secure, but they are doing very little to reinforce that statement. After selecting the running back in the second round of the 2012 draft, James has sat on the bench while getting buried on the depth chart. After a successful college career, James has the potential to be a start in the NFL. So why did the 49ers grab Carlos Hyde in the draft?
The 49ers made an interesting move in the draft grabbing former Ohio State running back Hyde in the second round of the draft. They had opportunities to move around that selection, but felt getting the young back was the best move. It is assumed that Hyde will be the heir to the Frank Gore throne. The veteran is not getting any younger and while head coach Jim Harbaugh is noting that Gore still has three more years in him, the 49ers are prepping his backup just in case.
Hyde is certainly no slouch on talent. The running back put up 3,198 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns in four years. According to SFGate.com, Hyde will be placed in the rotation as the No. 2 guy behind Gore. Now, the 49ers also have Marcus Lattimore who is expected to be healthy this year after sitting out a season due to a gruesome leg injury suffered in college. So that is three running backs the 49ers have in rotation and James is wondering where he stands.
According to CBSSports.com, it is only a matter of time before San Francisco moves on from James whether it be by trade or release. Many NFL sources are saying that the running back and Harbaugh do not get along which is why he is not playing despite being a second-round pick. While more teams will be interested in James if he is released, there might be a few teams like favor a trade once training camp begins.
Right now, James is not working out with the 49ers, opting to do his own conditioning before OTAs begin. He might not get the option of being at OTAs if the 49ers move quickly. The Oakland Raiders are an option despite giving new contracts to Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. McFadden's injury history does not speak well to his upcoming season and Jones-Drew is certainly not getting any younger. The Raiders will not make a trade, but could pick him up if released.
The Buffalo Bills might be a favorite. CJ Spiller will not be back next year if contract negotiations sour. Fred Jackson is reaching the end of his career and could get released. Bryce Brown cannot handle the load himself. The Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys also remain options, but only if James is released.