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Richie James has chance to stick with Giants after impressive spring

James offers receiving and return ability

NFL: New York Giants Minicamp
Richie James
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

In the NFL, injuries provide opportunities. The New York Giants had more than a dozen injured or rehabbing players not participating in team drills throughout the offseason program, including a number of wide receivers. Richie James took advantage of that to increase his chance to make the Giants’ 53-man roster.

Let’s talk about James as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

By the numbers

Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 185
Age: 26
Position: Wide receiver
Experience: 4
Contract: One-year, $1.065 million | Guaranteed at sign: $100,000 | 2022 cap hit: $1.065 million

Career to date

A 2018 seventh-round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers, James had moderate success as a receiver and return man with the 49ers before missing last season with a knee injury.

As a receiver, James has 38 career catches in 40 games for 689 yards (18.1 yards per catch). James had 23 of those catches in 11 games in 2020.

James returned both kickoffs and punts for the 49ers. He has career averages of 7.3 yards on 51 punt returns and 23.0 yards on 47 kickoff returns.

2022 outlook

With Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay sidelined and Collin Johnson limited, James got a ton of both reps and touches throughout the spring.

James appears to fit the offense we saw the Giants building in the spring, which employs players lining up in a variety of positions and a heavy dose of quick, horizontal throws designed to allow playmakers to get the ball in space.

James aligned as a wide receiver, slot receiver and even as a pass-catching running back during spring practices.

“He’s got quickness. He has the ability to play inside and outside. We’ve put him really in all three spots or four spots when we’re going with four wide receivers,” head coach Brian Daboll said.

“I think the quarterbacks can read his body language. Has good hands, knows what to do, dependable. So he’s been a good addition for us.”

James appears to have a good chance to make the 53-man roster, and could emerge as a primary option in the return game.