Loser: Wide receiver Richie James
Maybe San Francisco lost confidence in wide receiver Richie James a long time ago, effectively removing him from the offensive game plan and allowing him almost solely to be a return specialist on special teams.
Of course, James being waived with an injury designation before the start of the 2021 season didn’t help, and after no other team claimed him, he reverted back to injured reserve and entered free agency in 2022.
The 49ers could have considered bringing James back as a contingency plan, particularly after last year’s return game struggled to find a permanent solution.
Yet the addition of former Pittsburgh Steelers return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud, who led the league with 38 punt returns and 367 yards last season, will put an end to that possibility.
No team desired to put in a claim on an injured James a year ago, and it wouldn’t be shocking at all if a now-healthy James garners almost zero interest on the free-agent market after flaming out with the Niners.