Just because San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James may want a fresh start with a new team doesn’t mean that he will get one.
On Friday, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke was asked if the team has any interest in trading the third-year running back, and he replied, “No.”
James isn’t present for the first phase of the 49ers offseason workouts, but because they’re voluntary, Baalke doesn’t have a problem with it. In addition, he said he understands that James and his wife now have a new baby and that might factor into why he’s not present for the workouts.
As of right now, we have to take Baalke on his word that he won’t be trading his former second-round draft pick despite a report over a week ago by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee that he was trying to. However, new baby aside, James is probably unhappy camper right now nonetheless, even though he hasn’t actually come right out and said he wants out of San Francisco.
Because with fellow running back Marcus Lattimore now looking like he is finally ready to start his NFL career after missing his rookie season rehabbing a serious knee injury, James figures to be buried on the depth chart behind him, starter Frank Gore and backup Kendall Hunter. It should be noted, however, that the current contracts of both Gore and Hunter are up after the 2014 season.
I speculated recently that the 49ers might want to trade up in round one of the 2014 NFL Draft in order to select UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr. That speculation included the Pittsburgh Steelers being a trading partner and James being part of the deal along with the 49ers first of two second-round draft picks that they currently own. That speculated trade, which now looks even more unlikely to happen, would make sense for both sides.
Funny things happen on draft day and while Baalke might be saying that he has no plans to trade James as of right now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t be willing to in a few more weeks. I am willing to bet that deep down inside, James hopes he changes his mind as well.