LaMichael James’ future with the 49ers

Predict LaMichael James’ future with the 49ers. Does he have one? Will he make the team next season? Will the 49ers trade him during the offseason, or will the 49ers cut him?

I don’t think any team will trade even a seventh-round pick for James. Maybe some team will offer one of their busts to the 49ers for James, like when the Chiefs gave Jonathan Baldwin to the Niners for A.J. Jenkins.

Maybe the 49ers can trade James to the Rams for Isaiah Pead.

This article has 168 Comments

  1. Expecting a draft pick for LMJ is absurd. It would be like Jacksonville expecting that there is a team in the league dumb enough to give them a pick for Blaine Gabbert.

    1. Good question(s)…Coach Harbaugh wanted him, so they took him in the second round. Then, like some juvenile ‘get-back’ refused to play him; degraded him like he was being vindictive for the fact that LaMike kicked his Stanford teams ass two years running and wouldn’t play him. Jim Harbaugh makes Mike singletary look like Vince Lombardi…. Just like Alex Smith, LaMike is going to show Harbaugh as an ego when he shows up in the winners circle long before Harbaugh gets there with the ‘over the hill gang’. Man!! …GET OVER YOURSELF!

      1. Wow, talk about getting over yourself! Can you please explain how you came up with this story? Your assumption alone is so silly that makes me LOL. A NFL coach drafts a player in the second round to bench him because he wants revenge. This comment is so idiotic that makes me wonder if you are truly a niner fan since every comment you make on this blog is either against the coaches or the players such as CK. You are entitled to your opinion but please explain that LMJ play, effort, attitude in the locker room or practice field has nothing to do with his lack of playing time!

        1. OK, Chicago

          What do you KNOW about his attitude in the locker room or practice field, were you there for any or all of it to be able to be judgemental? I probably have a little more experience with LMJ in that I followed him closely through college at U of Oregon. I spoke with some of his friends who say that he’s depressed about not playing nor knowing why. Harbaugh himself acknowleged his value when he was drafted, and stated the same reason as myself as to why he wanted him.

          Like yourself and many others on here, I was excited to get JH as a head coach; I followed his career, and thought highly of him as a QB. I thought that we’d finally get some GOOD receivers and revive the West coast offense. What we got was Bud Wilkinson, Woody Hayes, and U of Michigan 3 yards and a cloud of dust. I absolutely love Frank Gore, but would like some diversity in the offense to open him up in a more open field, which requires short passes crossing patterns and plays in the 10-15 yard range to pull the LB’s and S’s out of the box. LaMike is the perfect weapon to break out the box from the slot…incidentally, if you don’t think he can catch the ball, call Chip Kelley. In your reference to CK, you are right. I admire his athleticism, but ever since he displayed his running ability, every opposing team in the league has designed a defense to combat him, so we cannot depend on more than a couple of long runs per season. Until he learns to take some of the smoke off his passes, and improves his accuracy, he surely isn’t a franchise QB….didn’t we learn anything from George Mira?

          1. Oregon,
            I know that we rarely agree on anything, but except for the conspiracy idea that Harbaugh is seeking revenge (far fetched) I agree that LMJ could still provide value.

            The LMJ that we saw as a rookie gave me reason to believe that he had a bright future as a 49er.
            Evidently there is an area in his game that has been slow to develop that may be keeping him off the field.
            If that’s the case it’s on him not the coaching.
            I feel that James is very talented as a runner but our system requires more than just running.

          2. Oregoniner, I do not know anything about the locker dynamics and my statement was just to bring to your attention that there could be so many other factors that has limited LMJ contribution to the team. I just can not imagine a coach would sacrifice a top draft pick to revenge his past college team!

            I understand so many niner fans are frustrated with the last three years of deep playoff appearances and no ring but come on man, At least we have been extremely competitive since JH has been here. Trust me, I was very excited when we drafted LMJ as well but there must be something more substantial that prevents him from being utilized.

          3. It’s actually really simple. Hold on to the ball or sit on the bench. You act as if you’re the only one who knew exactly who james was in college. I was yelling at the tv “pick james!” when they took him in the second round. I have no problem with how he has been treated. He fumbles the ball, which is unacceptable, and he has proven himself to be worse than hunter and gore, and now with Lattimore coming in, who; if healthy; is almost certainly better than all three, his value has plummeted. If anything you should feel that hunter is underplayed, but gore can block and both hunter and james can’t, so there you go.

            1. He has the same problem Kyle Williams had, and the same thing happened to him. When you see the lack of confidence, constantly calling for fair catches there is a reason for that, he is a fumble waiting to happen. Then the coaches, concerned about an underperforming offense toward the end of the season, try to coach him up to be more aggressive, and for a while he looks good. Until the muff or fumble happens. At the worst possible time. Not a big LMJ fan. He can barely play. I really hope that if Lattimore or someone else comes in to solidify the RB depth that they give the job to Kendall Hunter. He is already on the coverage unit now ,and I trust him. Although I don’t know if he really wants the job…

        2. Harbaugh makes Singletary look like Lombardi??That’s the anger talking..and drudges up memories of Alex gettin traded…Poor guy..I do agree we need to take a different offensive approach and philosophy tho

  2. No future, and no trade value. I heard from players in camp that he isn’t that fast. This is just the final chapter in Baalkes’ 2012 book, NFL Drafting For Dummies. If the 49ers don’t exercise the option on Aldon Smith, that will serve as another blemish on his resume…

    1. If the 49ers don’t exercise the option on Aldon Smith, that will serve as another blemish on his resume…

      Please elaborate.

      1. Since you said please, he’s missed games because of off field problems. Baalke could have selected Watt or Quinn, both have been exercised. After 2.5 years of brilliance on the field, his off field blunders make him too dangerous to sign. Even if he jumps through all the hoops and doesn’t fall again, he’ll cost the team more money if they decide to franchise him. Finally, a 1st Round draft pick that is not exercised, reflects poorly on Baalkes’, or on any GM for that matter, drafts performance…..

        1. Thank you, but I disagree with you on Watt. The team already had it’s two starting DEs before the draft, so they really didn’t need Watt.

          1. Any team that passed on Watt because they decided they did not need him, made a JV mistake….

            1. We had Cowboy and also just resigned McDonald Razor, so there was no room for Watt unless the team had him switch positions.

              1. Any team could have found room for Watt, but there was a much greater need for an OLB than a DE in that draft. Drafting Aldon over Watt made sense.

                I wanted Quinn, and after two seasons I was mighty glad Baalke went Smith instead. Now I really wish he had gone Quinn.

                However, assuming Aldon is done in San Fran, I don’t think it is a blemish on Baalke’s ability to find talent per se. I think he ended up taking the more talented player. He whiffed on judging the player’s character, attitude, and dedication.

              2. Watt would have come in mighty handy, especially when the Cowboy was injured. I disagree with your draft philosophy. I take best player available unless the difference is slight between him and the player of need.

              3. @Scooter

                That’s part of Baalkes’ job, judging the player’s character, attitude, and commitment to dedicate himself to honing his craft. Part of the evaluation process. He evaluated wrong. If they do not exercise him, it is an admission he whiffed on another 1st round pick. No more Baalkologies.

                The more valuable position is DE in my book. Your adjective, “greater” seems a bit much when describing the need versus bpa.

              4. Razor, in 2011 the need for a pass rushing force at OLB was paramount. If Watt was seen as significantly better than Smith, then sure, they should have taken him. But Smith is a tremendously talented player. He didn’t whiff from that regard.

                Yes, judging character is a key part of talent evaluation. But its also the hardest – character is something you can’t learn from film, you have to speak to these guys, their coaches, etc. I’m not giving Baalke a pass – he failed in this regard. My comment was just that he didn’t fail from a talent perspective as he identified the more talented player correctly.

                You can’t always only go for guys that are squeaky clean, high character guys, because you end up missing out on a lot of top end talent. Baalke probably thought Aldon’s work ethic issues could be alleviated to some degree by the hard working nature of guys like Justin Smith, McDonald, Willis. Where Baalke went wrong was he either didn’t think the other personality issues were serious, or he thought the team could manage the other issues of his personality – a hard lesson learned, hopefully.

                Its funny to me that you are giving it to Baalke for going for a talented but somewhat troubled player, because last year you touted they should have taken Tyrann Mathieu, who had significantly larger character concerns than Aldon. Time will tell whether he stays out of trouble or not, but that was a big gamble by the Cards that so far has paid off.

              5. @Scooter ~ Big difference drafting a player with those character concerns at 69 as opposed to number 7 overall Scooter. I fail to see the humor….

              6. Aldon’s character concerns weren’t as obvious as Tyrann Mathieu’s, and his talent is greater.

                Yes, hindsight now shows his character issues are detrimental to himself and his team. But prior to the 2011 draft he hadn’t had any arrests that I am aware of. Lots of players coming out of college have some character concerns – for some of those guys it derails a career, for others it does not. You try and avoid the obvious mistakes, but I don’t think Aldon was an obvious one.


                “There are a lot of qualities to like in him,” Baalke said in 2011. “Obviously, once again, he’s young. There are growing pains that go along with that. Those are all things we took into consideration, but he comes from a strong foundation. He comes from a strong program. Just the uniqueness in his physical talents and the ability for us to mold him into the type of player that we see him becoming is really what it came down to.”

                Basically they knew he had some immaturity issues, but thought he would grow out of it. As of yet, he has not. Will he ever? Maybe a stint in jail and a suspension will be the wake-up call he needs. Or maybe it won’t. Who knows.

              7. Yes Scooter, but the risk at pick seven is far more consequential than at pick 69. I think you realize that mistake cost the team games. Watt or Quinn should be the 49er getting exercised had Baalke not made the wrong assumption…..

              8. I’m not defending the pick razor. 20-20 hindsight says Quinn would have been a better pick – he’s also a talented pass rusher that doesn’t have the same character concerns.

                Heck, they could have traded back and gotten Kaep + Justin Houston in the 2nd round while also picking up extra picks.

              9. All I’m saying is, Baalke needs to reevaluate his Gold Star Program, and start living up to the hype. You can’t make these kind of mistakes without jeopardizing the health and well being of the franchise. It’s not just Aldon you know Scooter…..

              10. The 2012 draft was a disaster. That is the biggest blemish on his record, and by some way. He has another draft like that and its curtains – you can’t make up for two drafts that bad in three years, even if the 2013 draft haul ends up an excellent one.

                Aldon’s character issues are now making that top pick in 2011 questionable (though they have gotten 3 very good seasons out of him – one of them exceptional). Culliver isn’t helping the 2011 draft class either. But its worth noting that a year ago that draft class was being seen as one of the greats for the 49ers. There is no doubting the talent level Baalke brought in was pretty good. He erred on the character-side of things. Something tells me they he won’t be making that mistake again in light of recent events. At least I seriously hope not.

              11. The interesting thing about that 2012 class is only 1 of those guys is no longer active in the league.

              12. True Jack, but none of them have yet developed into a starter either. One thing is for sure – the 49ers haven’t gotten much value from that draft class yet, and it is increasingly looking like they never will… Looney and Fleming are now the great hopes if James is let go.

    2. Oh yeah, Balke sucks at drafting. Why in the hell aren’t you working for the Niners? Christ we would be so better off…

    3. 2012 draft still haunts my dreams. I wake up shivering. He TTER not do that this draft with all that talent.the only one left is Looney and Darious “I cant make it through camp”Fleminh……we might well had done a ricky williams draft.

    4. Razoeater— Not that fast- could be. I before last season began that the word was that LMJ had spent the off season putting on some muscle to increase his between the tackles effectiveness. The Niner’s don’t seem to understand that not every player can do that due to body type. LMJ didn’t seem to be as quick or fast last season as he was as a rookie. Putting on that muscle seems to have robbed him of some of his speed. Some players when they put on muscle it decrease their speed. I suspect that the Niner staff has some coaches on it that are not that effective at analyzing situations on the fly. Another example was them trying to turn Williams into a return guy when it should have been obvious that his brain was incapable of the necessary multitasking which makes for a good returner. It appears too many staff members have reached their level of incompetency. I also wonder why so many fans always assume that players would always retain the level of speed they showed in the combines.

  3. He’ll be given a shot during TC and the first two games of the preseason. If he can’t take hold of the backup or third string RB position, then he will be out the door via trade or being let go.

    1. 4th string*. Unless you believe him to be in contention with hunter, which is ridiculous

    2. They need to make their move before the preseason begins. They lost Gray and Cooper last season on waivers because the held on to their excess LB. Those LB lost trade value because TB waited to trade them after the 53 man roster cuts had already been made. The teams knew that they were excess and would have to eventually be cut anyway. A team that has to wait until after the 53 man roster cut down has already happened to realize players are excess has some pretty dense decision makers on it’s staff. I know I keep bringing up this decision by TB, but it personifies an area of his decision making ability that is highly defective or at least suspect. Running an effective operation requires ability and expertise multitude of area’s. Because someone is good in one of the aspects that make up a job description does not make them competent in the other area’s. That can be compensated for if the individual is aware of their own shortcomings by surrounding themselves with people who can compensate for those weakness’s. But that requires overcoming ones own ego.

  4. Maybe this has been answered before, but whos idea was it to draft james? Harbagh, or balkee?

  5. I don’t discredit Baalke for the LMJ selection. He didn’t reach for him and was generally seen as a good pick for us, a potential Darren Sproles type player that the Saints were having a ton of success with at the time. Almost all draft profiles suggested durability would be his biggest weakness so he wasn’t coming with a lot of red flags for any of the issues we’ve seen with him.

    He was a considered a good pick at where he was taken at the time and he hasn’t lived up to his potential.

    1. If they drafted him with the expectation that he would need to put on muscle than that pick was a repeat of the AJ mistake. LMJ put on extra muscle which AJ was incapable of doing, but it seem to have come at the expense of losing speed. When you draft players thinking you are going to have quick fixes for the red flags that come up on their scouting reports thats a receipt for failure. Either TB or the individuals he relies don’t seem to consider all the possible negatives out comes in the decisions they make. They focus on what they hope will happen rather than all the possibilities of what might actually happen. Also LMJ was the pick that followed AJ and was definately effected by the pick that preceeded it. If they felt they needed an RB than Martin was the pick they should have made instead of AJ and picking LMJ would never have happened at #2. The deficiencies in LMJ game that they wanted to correct did not exist in Martins game because he was a three down back. The AJ pick went against the grain and the LMJ pick seemed to be a pick to cover for not picking the obvious pick which was Martin.

  6. I think some teams might consider James worth a conditional 2015 draft pick. Take the Saints for instance – they’ve lost Sproles and James could be a cheap alternative to play a similar role in that offense, as well as take over return duties.

    James hasn’t worked out for the 49ers, but I think some teams will still see value in him.

  7. Last draft Jerry Jones was BBQd by Dallas fans for trading the 18 to the 49ers so cheaply. By the chart, they lost 80 value points on the deal

    The depth of this draft could make trading down even less rewarding. Packaging LMJ with a draft pick could help GMs save face in the event they lost the value chart game.

    Say the 49ers offered 30+77 for Miami’s 19, and Miami was quietly fine with it because of the deep draft. 30+77+LMJ would sweeten the pot and allow Miami to save face. LMJ means they didn’t “lose” the chart.


    Say the 49ers offered the 30+94 for KC’s 23 or Philadelphia’s 22 . 30+94+LMJ could be the tipping point.

    LMJ could be the face saver that pushes deals through.

  8. I don’t know who to blame for the failure of the LMJ project but we didn’t use him properly. Our offensive scheme never had anything designed for him. We should have used him in the slot position, motioned him out of the backfield, get him in space, etc. We failed him, not the other way around. But we really didn’t need him either, so it’s like we wasted a 2nd round draft pick.

    1. We failed him? James wasn’t able to even beat out a former sixth round pick in Dixon. Give me a break.

      1. The Niners drafted a player that didn’t fit into their system. In the off season they tried to beef him up. Same thing they tried to do with AJ. I believe TB’s rational behind drafting LMJ was the same that he use to draft AJ. They wanted a player that really wasn’t available but thought they could create that player out of the ones that were. The just were not able to see the high degree for the probability of failure in their plans. Lets just ignore the red flags because we surely can make it work since we are so much smarter than everyone else.

    2. who in their right mine would trade crap like 30 and 94 LMJ for the 23rd or Miami’s 19. or Philly you are absolute NUT! Ask a question before posting that garbage would you make that dumb of a trade
      Offer yout 1st 2nd 4th and they might listen ! and or Smith and your 1st if a team wants him then you may have something.

      1. What’s with all the “new” names? Are these regular members that are chicken shat and can’t call someone out using their normal name or are these those typical kids that get worked up over something post once or twice and then forget where they were posting and move on?

        1. It’s free Internet. Sometimes we get what we pay for!
          In the long view I’ve always appreciated Brodie’s contributions. The other guy is a drive-by.

    3. KY, I agree with you but there must be much more this story than we know. Coach Harbaugh will never say anything negative about a player but we do not know how LMJ is perceived by the RB coach and the staff.

      1. What people miss is LMJ isn’t a run between tackles type of guy. He needs to be out in space. Of course he wasn’t going to past anyone on the depth chart. He can’t do what is expected of our running backs

    4. In discussing who failed who, and why James didn’t make it, I think people are forgetting a key thing. The 49ers had intentions of Kaep taking over at some point, and had intentions of bringing in more read-option and spread-type offense. James I believe was seen as a perfect complement to Kaep in that offense. Problem was when they tried to use it extensively at the beginning of last season James was hurt and the offense was terrible. So they scrapped the idea and went back to a more traditional offense, which simply doesn’t suit James.

      Now they have Lattimore on the books, who can also play from spread, play some read-option, but also has the frame to play in a more traditional offense too. I will be interested to see if the 49ers try and introduce more spread and more read-option into the offense again this offseason. Too late for James though, he is frustrated and doesn’t want to be here any more, so unfortunately his days are numbered.

      1. I understand the point you’re making Scooter, but in the end, he was the wrong pick. Lattimore hasn’t played a down. No one knows how his legs are going to hold up, not even the 49ers. They’re still willing to move on from James. I think they want a big bruiser for short/goal line yardage, and they have a guy in mind in this draft…..

        1. A player can turn out to be the wrong pick for a variety of reasons. Attitude (see Smith, Aldon), lack of talent (see Jenkins, AJ), injury (see a long list of failures due to injury) or simply due to circumstance. I wouldn’t be shocked to see James have a relatively successful career in another offense that uses his skills better. He was unfortunate last year that he got hurt early on when they were using a system he was more suited to. Now his whining will run him out of town.

          A bad pick, but at this point I think circumstance has more to do with it than a lack of talent or any attitude issues.

          1. If he gets hired by a team with a weaker roster, he might be able to get more opportunities to prove you correct….

  9. Grant…or anyone…

    Do you think LMJ got a fair shot here? Why or why not? Did we fail to use him properly? What were the biggest reasons why he barely saw the field?

    I would like to hear multiple opinions on this

    1. Do you think LMJ got a fair shot here?
      Yes, because he is given a chance like everybody else to climb up the depth chart.

      Did we fail to use him properly?

      What were the biggest reasons why he barely saw the field?
      He hasn’t earned his keep. His constant complaining in the social media ring doesn’t help his cause either.

  10. I think his biggest problem with the Niners was ..
    he’s got Kendell Hunter ahead of him ..

    1. that and lack of blocking skills and overall toughness. Here’s just a excerpt of many you find online, describing LMJ’s lack of pass blocking skills: ** Running back LaMichael James struggled with his vision and his pass protection.”

      In Rathman’s scheme RB’s must pass block: ” Rathman said. “We’ve got a certain philosophy of pass blocking and that’s to dominate on each snap.”

      1. I didn’t know that part, chess…
        so-o-o ..
        it seems the Rath-man doesn’t like him cos
        he can’t pass-block .. he complains on the socials..
        looks like he’s a goner, then

      2. In Rathman’s scheme RB’s must pass block: ” Rathman said. “We’ve got a certain philosophy of pass blocking and that’s to dominate on each snap.”

        When Woody speaks, the backs better listen.

  11. For James to be an effective contributor to the Niners., he needs to be a dominant factor in the return game and he also needs to provide some minimal inside running skills to complement his outside running game; however, the Niners really are not an offensive unit which comes into each game with an outside running game. Additionally, if he were to be able to contribute on 3rd downs, the Niners would have to run a “scat” protection package very similar to the Saints when they had Sproles or even like the Packers did when they had that hybrid RB/WR aligned in the backfield on 3rd downs. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Niners will go to those depths to integrate those phases into their offensive packages. They would be better suited to let him go and to draft a RB who has the physical dimensions more suited to their offensive style.

  12. LMJ’s biggest problem since being drafted is K Hunter and secondly Gore’s health. When Gore is healthy he is was going to get the majority of snaps and hunter averaged 5.2 and 4.6 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. LMJ has also done a good job for us on special teams. Are his cumulative stats good for a LATE 2nd rd pick, no, but part of that is circumstance. I think he’ll get traded, though I’d prefer to keep him for special teams play.

  13. I was excited when he was drafted. He was a threat to take it around the outside or after receiving a short out to break one up field. But he was never used like that. Why? If the 9ers weren’t going to use his strengths why did they draft him?

  14. Without James the 49ers likely don’t reach Super Bowl XLVII or beat New England.

    The 49ers drafted him in 2012 without knowing they would have a shot at Lattimore in the middle rounds a year later.

    1. Jack, my thoughts exactly. James was seen as a guy that could play out of a more open offense with some read-option elements. It didn’t work at the beginning of last season (mainly because key personnel were injured, including James and Kaep) so they went back to a more traditional offense that didn’t suit James’ skills. Now they have Lattimore, ready to go so James is expendable. They will draft another RB that is also capable of playing out of a spread offense, with some read-option.

      1. I’m still not over his fumble in the Super Bowl. He’s a whiner, and soon to be no longer a 49er……

        1. Victimising a player for a mistake is pretty rough. I didn’t like it when people kept ripping Kyle Williams after that NFCCG loss, and I don’t think it is fair to rip James for that play either. Mistakes happen. If they keep happening over and over, then sure, rip them.

          1. Bad timing for a mistake. Williams bad timing. Roger Craig, bad timing. You don’t don’t forget bad timing, no matter the sensitivities of the ones who make excuses for them…..

            1. Where am I making excuses for them? They made errors at critical points in a game. In the case of Williams you can make a strong argument that his mistakes cost the game. I just don’t think victimising the player afterwards is particularly constructive or fair.

              The whole “these guys are professionals and shouldn’t make these types of mistakes” argument is thin. They aren’t robots. Errors are part of the game. You do your best to minimise them, and if a guy keeps making the same mistake you bench him.

              Victimising James and Williams over these errors is rough – some of the comments made about Kyle Williams afterwards (and even today) were way out of line. And he responded to the adversity well. Showed a lot of maturity, much more than the average fan showed.

              1. No need for victimization, but don’t expect me to feel sorry for them either. The opportunities are few, and they need to be seized upon. Seize the day! Who said that?

              2. Comes from a poem written in 23 BC.

                “…dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.”

                “…While we speak, envious time will have {already} fled:
                seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next”

      2. LMJ has never been given a real opportunity here and I have no idea why. He’s had 39 regular season carries in two years; 12 in the postseason. It just seems like they drafted him and then couldn’t figure out what to do with him. He should be a Sproles like weapon for us but for whatever reason the Coaching staff has ignored him. I totally understand his frustration.

        1. Yep. Sproles, Jacquizz Rodgers, Dexter McCluster – other teams seem to be able to find ways to get these types of players involved as a RB/WR hybrid. I hope for James’ sake he goes to a team that will use him that way.

          1. Geez, just a few weeks ago you got all upset about people being so negative about the 49ers…

          2. Couldn’t disagree more Razor. He’s averaged 4.7 ypc in the regular season and 5.9 in the postseason. The only issue here is opportunity, and he hasn’t gotten it.

            1. The only issue here is opportunity, and he hasn’t gotten it.

              Because he hasn’t earned it.

              1. He hasn’t earned it? He’s averaged a good ypc when he has played so what hasn’t he done to earn more carries? Blocking is an issue but they have never given this kid a shot to make plays. No short passes in the flat, no screens, no significant carries. He has not been given a chance here, much like Ginn before him. For whatever the reason the Coaching staff ignores players at times and they get frustrated. I love Gore but he was hardly setting the league on fire the second half of the season and yet he still got all the carries with Hunter getting a couple here and there and LMJ getting nothing. This team has the talent to run a true RB rotation to get everybody involved and keep them fresh, yet they don’t do it. That is a problem imo.

  15. I have watched every snap LMJ has played in college and pro. Two things that are negative about LMJ is his blocking ability and his penchant for putting the ball on the ground. Complaining in the social media is also another negative thing about the kid. Some say he cant run between the tackles, wrong, he can run between the tackles. This guy is a game breaker but not on this Niner team. The coaching philosophy is not conducive to LMJ’s skill set. It isn’t that LMJ cant play the game or the Niners coaching staff cant coach its just a fact the two different styles just do not mesh. When LMJ gets on a team that uses his skill set many of you in here will say why did we let him go.
    Maybe LMJ need to get in trouble, get a DUI, or fire weapons in a city, carry brass knuckles or yelling something about a bomb in an airport or smoking pot with a naked lady, to receive his just due on this team that is turning into a bunch of thugs much like our federal government.

  16. When LMJ first arrived, maybe MiniCamp, maybe TC, in an interview he made a statement like: It’s actually easier to run in these Pro schemes than it was in college. Not an exact quote, but it stayed with me because it seemed goofy and suggested (to me) he didn’t know as much as he thought he did. Now, down the road, he’s not getting on the field. AJJ and Brandon Jacobs didn’t get on the field much either. That’s the pattern I see, but it’s an outsider’s view.
    I would be very surprised if there is no trade value for him. A trade before the Draft avoids the free flood of bargain bodies to choose from on Cutdown Day and reduces the chance a guy stays in your Division to play against you.

  17. Undercenter,
    I was following your take and nodding my head, thinking; okay, okay, yep ,yep, exactly! I was thinking dang, this guy’s hitting the nail on the head! And then you had to type that last paragraph, and your take turned all negative and anti-Niner-ish. There have been a lot of bonehead moves (Aldon)and even some thuggish moves (Culliver and Brooks), but there are way more high quality, high character guys like Frank, Cowboy, Anquan, Staley, etc., than there are “thugs” on the Forty Niners. I wish people would stop painting the entire team with the thug brush when it’s really only three players that have done the damage to tarnish the gold in the red and gold.

    1. Bar None. Sorry about my rant at the end. Should of kept it to myself. Been watching the Niners since 1960 and I am just irritated at the organization right now and not just the players.

  18. I think once a team is actively shopping a player for a trade, they have pretty much made the decision to move on. Trading LMJ gets them off the hook for what would be around $426,000 in dead money against the cap if they cut him. If they have their druthers, he will leave via trade and save some cap money, but I don’t think they’ll take up the roster space by keeping him around very long. I’ll be very suprised to see him at the start of the season in the red and gold.

  19. Several of you have mentioned LMJ’s lack of blocking…I’m not sure how fair that is in that the comparisons given are Tom Rathman, and Frank Gore. LMJ isn’t afraid to block, but it is not his forte, and being measured against Gore and Rathman isn’t a winner for any running back in todays game…THEY ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST! It’s like expecting Rathman to run 90 yards with a punt or KO return. I can promise that’ll happen a lot more often with LMJ….

  20. Oregon,
    I believe that when the 49ers drafted James they were under the impression that he could leap-frog Hunter and eventually F.Gore. Because James hasn’t been able to ascend to that level he now becomes a loose end that could be easily moved.

    Gore hasn’t had a major injury or really slowed down that much since James’ arrival and Hunter came back strong from his injury making LMJ a fringe player.
    I feel a little sorry for James because I believe he has talent but unfortunately it’s beginning to look like the 49ers are not a good fit for him.

    James will likely be gone this season especially if the 49ers draft another RB next month. Given the fact that Hunter fits the scat-back mold, I see the team drafting someone like a C.Hyde, Andre Williams or Jeremy Hill larger RB type to compliment Gore and Hunter and be a redzone running threat.

    1. I could also see the 49ers using a late round pick for RB Tyler Gaffney who could possibly fill Dixon’s former role on ST and as a legit short-yardage back.

  21. niners draft a rb and find he’s all around better mainly blocking see what j.hampton has.get traded during or right after training camp for future draft choice 2015-6

  22. Note to Coach Harbaw:
    no matter who you play at running back/flanker
    no matter who lines up for you as receiver(s)
    if you fail (F-A-I-L) to bring home Lombardi #6,
    then you will suck eggs in early 2015
    (just the way you are doing in the 2014 offseason)

    I am the Super Bowl monkey
    and I approve of this message.

  23. Try to get a 7th from an idiot team or cut the cry baby. I had high hopes for him and his explosiveness but after seeing his antics on twitter the little B isn’t worth keeping.

    1. Trent wishes LaMichael’s tweets were his worst personnel problem right now. Alas……
      Adam- How’s the knee rehab coming?

      1. It’s the foot. But I’m 100% recovered. Had my last PT apt last Thursday in fact. Unfortunately it was my red shirt senior year so I am done. Thanks for asking

  24. He was a adequate punt returner. I can’t label him a bust because the Niners did not know how to use him. Even Ted Ginn became serviceable with Carolina. I would not be surprised if Chip Kelly would want him and sees some value with him.

    1. When is the last time we saw a center screen to a RB? A traditional screen to a RB or a pass to a RB in the flat? It’s just not a big part of this offense. Having a back like LMJ is a waste. I almost guarantee that if he plays for another team that he will successful.

      There has to be a back story here. Maybe he was drafted by Baalke and Harbaugh doesn’t play him to spite Baalke. Who knows. What I do know is that in our superbowl year LMJ ran well against Atlanta in a very big game. Our OC and yes Harbaugh are very stubborn and I believe that they don’t alter a game plan to fit skillsets.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. He could have been very useful against stacked boxes. Wheel routes out of the backfield, outs and flies from the slot, he’s not an NFL I formation running back.

  25. Maybe James just isn’t good enough. Sure he played well against Atlanta in the NFCCG, but all of those runs were outside and successful in large part because of the attention given to Kaepernick coming off the GB game the week before.

    When they drafted James he looked like he could fit in with their future offense. Unfortunately he couldn’t give them anything between the tackles.

    They then got lucky when Lattimore hurt his knee. Without that injury they have no shot at a guy who is perfect for the role they’d envisioned for James.

    1. Not to mention, they have no idea if Lattimores’ knee will stand up to the attrition in camp, yet Baalke is still for trading James before he was against it…..

    2. No way in, H E double hockey stick, they envisioned him running between the tackles. He’s not big enough. Although he’s the same height as gore he weighs 20-30lbs lighter. Never in his career has he been an in between the tackle runner. His game was always about getting to the edge and making people miss in the open field. I refuse to believe the FO thought he could become a power runner. What I do believe is they may have thought they could use him and turns out he wasn’t needed. We don’t know how good he can be because we never put him in a position to use his only strength, quickness. I’m okay with letting him go.

  26. I found this advice today from an esteemed author while reading a book.*
    *(A book is an unpowered, rectangular tablet found in Old People’s houses, reputed to contain analog information.)
    From author Dave Barry: 3rd of 3 tips for effective writing:
    “3. Be concise and to the point, especially when writing to busy people such as are found in Internet comment areas.
    WRONG – I respectfully disagree with you, and here are some facts supporting my position.
    RIGHT – Your a fascist.”

  27. You know, when Aldon made his first sack, and came running of the field like he did, many thought it was cute and/or funny. It seemed odd, and I thought to myself, this cat is wired differently in the attic. Following his path through his latest transgressions triggered that memory of how I felt at that precise moment in time….

  28. Razor,
    Not sure if it was his first sack when he ran off the field, but I do remember when he did it.

    I never thought that it was odd, I actually took it as being refreshingly different. I was looking forward to him doing it again on his next sack.
    Haven’t seen it since. At the rate he’s going I may not see it again, at least in a 49er uniform.

    1. If memory serves me, he was doing it to avoid another unsportsmanlike penalty. I thought it was jv and meant to antagonize the official in smart ass fashion…..

  29. Rotoworld:
    LaMichael James – RB – 49ers
    ESPN’s Adam Teicher suggests the Chiefs could pursue RB LaMichael James.
    The 49ers are currently shopping James and could eventually release him. Kansas City is unlikely to have much interest in James as a running back, but he could help replace Dexter McCluster’s role on special teams. The 61st overall pick in 2012, James has appeared in just 14 games the last two seasons.

      1. Yeah, he could help some teams and be trade fodder too. You trade him and a 7th for a choice and it’s hard to rate for whining by fans; GMs can throw some smoke, if he’s seen as a contributor. I don’t see a release.

  30. Just got done watching Draft Day. It was pretty good with some 49er references in there. It gave pretty good insight into draft rooms and negotiations. That said, I can’t wait for the draft.

  31. MWD,
    The two weaknesses that Mayock outline in LMJ analysis are more than likely the most telling reasons why he is not garnering more playing time.
    The other reasons (which make better sense) are that LMJ is simply not better or as good as Gore and Hunter.

  32. So, is the NFL really making any more money by pushing back the Draft date? Generating any more interest? In reading the comments sections of various sites all I’m detecting is boredom and frustration. We’ve wrung out almost everything possible out of mocks and speculations, now we’re reduced to disinformation and wild guesses.
    I suppose we’ll be making our SB predictions as soon as the schedule is published this week. Then a week after that I’ll publish my predictions of who SF will draft, just so you all know who they aren’t going to pick. One correct guess is the last 3 years.

    1. There has to be some reason besides “Radio City Music Hall was already rented out for April.”

      I think the NFL is trying to make tomorrow’s schedule release a separate “event.” That should clog the blog chat boards for a week, then the week leading up to the draft. Keeps the combine… annual league meetings… schedule release… draft… summer minicamps… preseason… regular season… all nicely spaced to keep us busy year round.

      1. Brodie I heard that they did’nt want to do the draft this last weekend because it was Easter weekend and there was something else this coming weekend but i ca’nt remember what it was.

    2. Put the draft back in April and then move it each year to a different NFL city. Why does it always have to be in NY? The SuperBowl changes, the pro bowl changes why does the draft have to alienate west coast fans that wan’t to participate in person?

  33. It sure seems like the team never knew how to use him. The more i think about the situation tho , the more i think maybe he just wasnt good enough. I mean didnt the team try to sign Dexter McCluster this offseason ? They seem like the exact same players.. Only they tried to sign one & are trying to trade the other. Makes no sense.. Which is why im thinking that maybe LMJ just isnt what we thought he would be.

  34. Do i think the 9ers can get something in a trade for LMJ? Yes i believe they will be able to package him with a pick, to move up in that rd. For example the 9ers might trade the 94th pick and LMJ to K.C. for the 87th pick in the draft.
    Do i blame Baalke for drafting A. Smith? Yes. It is not likely that Smith’s alcoholism began when he was drafted. There had to be signs there of problem drinking and Baalke should have done a better job in his backround check.

    1. On Aldon’s background, despite the article that Grant turned up questioning Aldon’s attitude, I don’t recall any whispers or questions. Right after the LAX arrest, Adam K. from ESPN said he’d called around to GM’s around the NFL and whichever ones he talked to said they hadn’t been aware of significant issues with Aldon prior to the Draft. I just throw that out for whatever its worth. Also, its not uncommon for a last minute hit piece to appear a week or two before the draft that denigrates a potential 1st or 2nd Round player. Somebody shredded Geno Smith last year. They’ll be another shot taken at Manziel in the Press before this draft.
      So, point being, if there was credible evidence, SF’s F.O. weren’t the only ones to miss it. Heck, I’ve already registered my claim at having a Black Belt in hindsight, but second guessing now seems a little too easy, a little too convenient.

      1. Brotha you are correct hind site is 20\20 but what other than hind site do we have to critic a draft. I do’nt think there has ever been any question regarding Smith’s work ethic as a pro but i still believe there had to be some evidence of problem drinking many people start down the road to alcoholism in college we all remember that guy who took his partying to just another level. The NFL is a billion dollar industry maybe the 9ers need to spend a little more money on their predraft backround checks

  35. LMJ has face saver value. He’s the spoon full of sugar that will make trades with the 49ers easier for the other team’s fans and media to swallow.

    Jerry Jones was ripped when he traded last year’s 18 pick so cheaply. Jones was happy, but Dallas fans went nuts. They lost 80 chart points on the deal, then drafted a (yawn) center at 31.

    Dallas (or any team) might hesitate to make a similar trade this year. LMJ could sweeten the pot just enough to make the other team say “yes”, even if the value chart is whispering “no.”

    There will probably be teams that went Clowney/Mack/Watkins in the first frantic trade back into the first for a QB. Baalke could drive a hard bargain. Combining 30+LMJ would make it (a little) easier the other team’s GM to justify the trade-up.

    1. Basically, packaging LMJ with a pick to move up/down saves face for other team if they lose on chart value… and saves face for Baalke because he didn’t have to trade him for a measly 7th rounder. LMJ+pick helps hide the Taylor Mays 2.0 stink.

  36. Weren’t there a few on here who thought the 49ers should bring in Rolando McClain?

    1. Sheepishly raises his hand but quickly puts it back down when he realizes he’s the only one.

    1. If he can stay healthy he’s the Crustacean Sensation. But can he stay healthy?

      1. Brodie i think his health is the only question about Crabtree but it is a huge question.

    2. Top WR pay? Absolutely not. He’s a very good player, but not a great player so his pay should reflect that. Let’s put it this way, if Desean Jackson is worth 8 mill with the extra flexibility he brings, than Crabs is worth 7 at the most.

      1. If Crabtree played on the Giants he would put up better numbers than Cruz, and Cruz is the 10th highest paid WR in the league.

        1. Unsubstantiated speculation that doesn’t play a part in contract negotiations. He’s been the #1 guy here for most of his career and has been good, but not great. His body of work is Boldin level.

          1. Nah. In his last full season, 2012, Crabtree had 85 receptions on 126 targets for 1105 yards, 13.0 ypc and 9 TD’s.

            That same season Cruz had 86 receptions on 143 targets for 1092 yards, 12.7 ypc and 10 TD’s.

            1. SMH. You post the one season where their numbers are close and it was a career year for Crabs and a down year for Cruz for yards per catch. Ok Grant. That was Cruz’s lowest yards per catch output in his 3 seasons Cruz has put up two other seasons superior to that number and higher than anything Crabs has amassed in 5 seasons. He missed a couple of games last year and still put up 13.7 yards per catch. He’s been consistently good and better than Crabs in TD’s, catches and Yards per catch. I don’t know how each would perform in the others offense but I know Cruz is more explosive than Crabtree and isn’t as injury prone.

              Cruz is also 10th on the list for highest paid WR’s. Just further strengthens the notion Crabs is not worth top WR money.

              1. Nah, I had the same argument with DS after the 2011 season and posted the similarities in their numbers back then. Just don’t have the time or desire to go back through all of it again.

              2. DS was saying they should release Crabs. This is nothing like that discussion and I’m certainly not saying Crabs isn’t a good player. He is a good player, but he’s not worth top WR money which is the question you posed. The numbers don’t back it up. I can see him getting 8 mill per from somebody but imo that would be the ceiling for him unless he absolutely explodes with a monster season this year.

              3. He will. So far he has only had 1 season not interrupted by a hold out or injury and as you said already it was a career year.

              4. If he stays healthy this season I believe he’ll show he is worth being considered a top WR (what do we mean by that btw – I’m assuming a top 10 to 15 WR) and will get paid as such.

              1. Absolutely. He was their only established receiving weapon last year with Nicks missing so much time and not playing well when he was active. Cruz is averaging 8.6 mill per year which for his production is a bargain.

              2. He didn’t have 1,000 receiving yards, he averaged just 13.7 yards per catch and he caught just 4 TDs. He didn’t live up to his salary.

              3. Cruz’s production is trending downward. Crabtree is very good but he’s not a deep threat and he is injury prone. I wouldn’t pay top dollar for a WR like him.

                Long term, the Niners have to a find a flanker Richard Sherman doesn’t own. Sherman has “ownage” on Crabtree, as Mike Krukow would say.

              4. Didn’t they sign a guy a few days ago who has done pretty well against Sherman recently?

              5. Depends on your definition of “recently,” and Lloyd isn’t a long-term solution.

                Also depends on your definition of “pretty well.” Lloyd caught two passes against Sherman in 2012.

              6. Grant,

                Cruz had some injuries last year and fewer targets and catches. His Yards per catch was better than the previous year and his 3 year totals are superior to Crabtree. Eli had a horrible year last year as well.

                The question jack posed was whether Crabs was worth top WR money, and the answer is obviously no when you look at numbers. Even comparing Crabs to Cruz completely blows up the argument considering Cruz is 10th on the list.

                I agree the Niners need to find an explosive playmaking WR to add to this offense. Hopefully that guy is in this draft.

              7. Cruz had a tremendous rookie season, but his averages the last 2 seasons are below Crabtree’s.

                I didn’t take the question to mean the highest paid WR, only that of a top flight WR, which I think Crabtree is.

              8. Cruz had a tremendous rookie season, but his averages the last 2 seasons are below Crabtree’s.

                He was 3 tenths of a yard behind Crabtree in Crabtree’s career year, and last year Crabtree’s production was based on 19 catches so it’s hardly indicative of what he does over the course of a season which is average about 13 yards a catch, while Cruz has averaged 15 per catch. Cruz’s numbers are better than Crabtree’s across the board including TD’s which Cruz has more of in 14 fewer games.

                I didn’t take the question to mean the highest paid WR, only that of a top flight WR, which I think Crabtree is.

                The question was: does he deserve top WR money, which to me means the receivers currently at the top of the list who are making 11 mill and more per year. Crabtree is on par with Cruz with numbers that are comparable, but not quite as good so that is the max he should be looking at. I think he’s worth 7-8 mill based on his production and what the guys he compares to are making.

                I like Crabtree and think he’s valuable to this team, but he has limitations to what he can produce and anything more than 8 mill would be overpaying him imo.

              9. That 15 yard average is due to his rookie season. The last 2 years he has averaged 13.1 ypc. Pretty close to Crabtree’s career average of 13.0, thus Cruz has put up Crabtree type numbers the last 2 years as I said further up this thread.

    1. I take the top portions of value charts with huge lumps of salt.

      The value of picks 1-10 varies greatly year to year. The top slots in 2005 and 2013 had little trade value compared to 2012. (The Rams were lucky to stink at just the right moment)

      The Johnson chart was made before the rookie salary cap. Year 1-4 players are now vital to controlling overall cap costs. Round 3-5 slots now have a (little) more value.

  37. What an idiot. Turns down 50k, for what? Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out pal….

Comments are closed.