Fooch's Update: Bill Williamson tweeted this out:
#49ers Source says James would welcome trade if it meant more playing time. Source wouldn’t say James requested trade. He wants to play.— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonESPN) April 17, 2014
In news that is not exactly shocking, Matt Barrows is reporting the San Francisco 49ers are shopping running back LaMichael James. There are no details on teams, or even if they've gotten into anything resembling serious discussions.
Aside from some work as a returner, and the occasional run, the 49ers have found very little use for James. The reasons for that could be varied. He is a smaller back, and viewed by some as a guy who does not fit into a power rushing scheme. Of course, with creative offensive minds at the helm, you'd think the team would have tried to figure out ways to work him into games. On the other hand, if he was in the doghouse with the coaching staff, it could explain why we have seen so little of him over the years.
We can go on and on about his perceived displeasure with the game plan. He has said his tweets are not about football, many doubt him, but at this point, we don't need to re-hash that. It's part of the whole story, but not such that I feel like discussing it much more.
The 49ers are not going to get original value for James. They drafted him in the second round, and I have to think they'd be luck to get even a sixth round pick for him. The value of running backs in general has gone down, and dealing a running back who doesn't actually play? I can't imagine there's much there. However, as Barrows pointed out in his article, it's possible the 49ers could use James as some icing on the cake to get a deal done in May. They could move up in the first round round with just a third, but adding in James might get them boosted further up. Or maybe they just acquired a 2014 or 2015 pick for him. The options are limited, but they exist.
The one question that will probably never be answered is why the 49ers drafted him in the first place. And of course, who was responsible for the pick. These are answers we'll probably never get with 100 percent certainty, and it's just going to end up being one of those mysteries that people eventually start to forget about down the road.