The Kansas City Chiefs added to their offensive arsenal on Tuesday with the signing of free agent wide receiver Richie James, who joins the Chiefs after compiling a breakout campaign with the New York Giants last season.
Here are five things to know about the newest member of the offense.
1. James put together a strong campaign in 2022.
James – who checks in at 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds – set single-season career-bests in receptions (57), receiving yards (569) and receiving touchdowns (4) last season for New York.
In fact, he was tied for the team-lead in catches (with tailback Saquon Barkley) and trailed only Darius Slayton in terms of receiving yards. For further context, he would have ranked third on the Chiefs in catches last season (behind only tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster) and fourth in receiving yards (trailing Kelce, Smith-Schuster and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling).
2. He did the majority of his damage on short routes over the middle of the field.
The 27-year-old wide receiver did the majority of his work over the middle of the field last season, hauling in 30 passes (or 53% of his total receptions) between the numbers and beyond the line of scrimmage. Specifically, 19 of those catches took place within nine yards of the snap.
James was also sure-handed overall, dropping just three passes on 67 targets.
3. James has experience returning punts.
James is an experienced punt returner, as he tallied a team-leading 24 punt returns last season. He averaged 7.3 yards-per-return on those punts.
Additionally, James has good speed – clocking a 4.48-second 40-yard dash at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine – and interestingly enough, NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein compared James' skillset to that of former Chiefs wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas in his pre-draft evaluation.
4. He spent the first three seasons of his career with San Francisco.
Prior to joining the Giants, James spent the first three seasons of his career with the San Francisco 49ers. A seventh-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, James caught 38 passes for 689 yards and three touchdowns in 40 games during his three seasons in San Francisco. His best season with the 49ers took place in 2020, when he caught 23 passes for 394 yards and a touchdown.
James earned a substantially larger opportunity with the Giants this past season – logging a career-most 67 targets – and he certainly made the most of it. In fact, those 70 targets were more than James had received in his previous three seasons combined (56).
5. James played his college ball at Middle Tennessee State.
The school's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns, James was nothing short of a superstar during his time at Middle Tennessee State.
He burst onto the scene as a First-Team Freshman All-American in 2015, hauling in 108 catches for 1,346 yards and eight scores before tallying 1,625 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns the following season. An injury cut his junior season short, but in just 31 total games, James cemented himself among the best players to ever suit up for the Blue Raiders.
Now in Kansas City and all of these years later, James will aim to build on his strong 2022 campaign as a member of the defending world champions.