LaMichael James has asked for and been granted his release from the 49ers, according to agent Jeff Sperbeck (via Twitter). Sperbeck writes that he and his client appreciate San Francisco’s willingness to allow James “to pursue his career elsewhere” and tells Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle that there have been talks with the Niners about a potential release for “the last few weeks” (Twitter link).
James, who turns 25 next month, entered the season third on the Niners’ depth chart at running back, behind starter Frank Gore and rookie Carlos Hyde. While he has contributed on special teams, James’ offensive snaps have been limited in his first two seasons in the NFL, as he has accumulated just 41 carries for 184 yards since entering the league.
James was mentioned in trade rumors earlier this year, with reports at the time suggesting the 2012 second-rounder would welcome a trade if it meant a chance to get more playing time. He could get that opportunity now, depending on which team decides to claim him off waivers or – if he clears waivers – to sign him.
Now that Ray Rice is no longer in the picture in Baltimore, the Ravens may be one team that considers placing a waiver claim on James. As for the Niners, with Kendall Hunter on injured reserve and James on waivers, the club may add another running back before Week 2’s contest against the Bears.