7:07pm: James is headed to the Dolphins’ practice squad, rather than their 53-man roster, according to Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post (via Twitter).
4:37pm: The Dolphins have signed running back LaMichael James, according to his representative at the NOVO Agency, Jeff Sperbeck (on Twitter). James worked out for Miami two weeks ago, at which point the two sides were reportedly discussing a deal.
James, 25 next month, entered the league in 2012 as a second-round pick by the 49ers. Despite his draft pedigree, the Oregon product was never able to produce in San Francisco, and was virtually buried behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. James played in just 14 games during his first two seasons, contributing mostly on special teams — he racked up only 41 rush attempts and five receptions during that span.
The Niners added even more running back talent in recent drafts, selecting Marcus Lattimore and Carlos Hyde in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Sensing that his role was about to decrease from small to non-existent, James asked for his release earlier this month, and his request was granted. The team had shopped James during the offseason, so it’s apparent that no other squad offered anything of note for the third-year player.
In Miami, James will join a running back corps currently led by Lamar Miller, who has averaged 4.5 yards per carry so far this season. Knowshon Moreno is expected to return in a few weeks following an elbow injury, but as of now, Miller is backed up by undrafted free agent Damien Williams. James could potentially see some third-down work and aid on special teams, but I’d be surprised if he significantly eats into Miller’s workload. However, James should be familiar with Miami’s offense: Dolphins OC Bill Lazor was the Eagles’ QBs coach under Chip Kelly last season, and James played under Kelly at Oregon from 2009-11.