The San Francisco 49ers will be without one of their wide receivers and return specialists to start the regular season. On Friday, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Richie James will undergo surgery for his knee injury, and is expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
James is coming off of his best season, as he caught a career-high 23 receptions for 394 yards and one touchdown. He also returned six punts for a total of 34 yards and four kicks for 73 yards. James was selected by the 49ers in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Middle Tennessee, and has caught 38 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns in 40 career games played.
James is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which pays him $920K in base salary, according to Spotrac. For now, the 49ers wide receiving corps consists of Brandon Aiyuk, Travis Benjamin, Jalen Hurd, Jauan Jennings, Deebo Samuel, Mohamed Sanu Sr., Trent Sherfield and Nsimba Webster. Sherfield has been the preseason star, as he has led San Francisco in receiving in both preseason matchups, recording three catches for 130 total yards and one touchdown. With James' injury, the 49ers could decide to keep an extra receiver on the 53-man roster. It could be good news for a player like the oft-injured Hurd.
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