No. 1: Wide Receiver Richie James
This is a bit of a tough one to digest, especially considering how well second-year wide receiver Richie James has been performing in training camp. Nearly every day, it seems he’s ripping off an impressive touchdown grab, using his sheer speed to create separation.
But the 49ers have an overabundance at wide receiver. And while James has been doing everything he can to impress, it seems highly unlikely he’ll unseat fellow slot receiver Trent Taylor for starting duties.
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And Kyle Shanahan can only keep so many receivers on the 53-man roster without jeopardizing other positions.
Let’s consider a business principle here: buy low and sell high. A year ago, James was having one of the better training camps for a rookie, showcasing similar speed bursts and catching abilities. Yet those efforts translated over to a regular-season showing of just nine receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown. While he did flash plenty of special teams prowess as a returner, it’s far too soon to consider James a serious offensive threat.
Yet if James continues to flash his abilities in camp and into the preseason, it might entice some other receiver-needy team into a trade.
Like Jaquiski Tartt, the Niners don’t have to make a deal here if there isn’t a good one on the table. It’s entirely possible James hangs around on the roster, serving as a special teams weapon and reserve option behind Taylor.
If another team is willing to offer up a nice return package, though, the Niners should seriously consider it.