49ers waive/injured WR Richie James, re-sign WR River Cracraft

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The 49ers on Saturday made a somewhat surprising announcement. Wide receiver Richie James Jr. was waived/injured to make room for WR River Cracraft who was released in the second round of roster cuts.

James is set to undergo knee surgery that’ll keep him out for around six weeks per head coach Kyle Shanahan. Waiving him with an injury designation gives the receiver a couple possible outcomes.

First, he could get claimed off waivers. That would put him on another club where he’d go through his recovery and then potentially play this season. This happened last year with defensive back DJ Reed, who the Seahawks claimed after the 49ers waived him with an injury designation for a pectoral tear.

Second, James could clear waivers. That would revert him back to the 49ers’ Injured Reserve list where his season would be over with San Francisco. He could reach an injury settlement to be released and become an unrestricted free agent.

The 2018 seventh-round pick carved out a role as a kick returner, but never broke through as an offensive weapon. In 40 games he posted 38 receptions for 689 yards and three touchdowns. The addition of Nsimba Webster to the 49ers’ roster made James’ path to the roster a little trickier than it was to start the offseason.

Cracraft will give the 49ers another body at receiver for the final preseason game, but it’s hard to imagine he finds his way onto the roster after getting cut following the second preseason game. He played in nine games for the 49ers last year and hauled in five balls for 40 yards.