Broncos RT Ja’Wuan James Opts Out

Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James announced that he will opt out of the 2020 season. In a message to his fans (Twitter link), James explained that he made the decision to protect the health of his wife and newborn son. 

James joined the Broncos on a four-year, $51MM deal last year and lost the bulk of the season to injury. Now, he’ll pass on the 2020 season and have his $10MM base salary toll into 2021.

Upwards of 40 players have opted out of the 2020 season, as shown in PFR’s tracker. As expected, a number of lineman who could be classified as higher-risk have made the decision to stay home. The deadline for opt out decisions still remains TBD – the NFL wants to schedule Wednesday as the cut-off date, but the window could remain open longer.

James’ last full season came in 2018, with the Dolphins. In that year, Pro Football Focus measured the former first-round pick as a top-35 tackle last season. He’s been a starter since entering the league, but injuries have kept him out of action for extended periods – James missed eight games in 2017 and nine in 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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4 comments on “Broncos RT Ja’Wuan James Opts Out

  1. wagner13

    This could really compromise Denver’s depth. Sure, Wilkinson is a decent replacement, but the Broncos don’t have anyone capable of stepping in if someone else gets hurt. According to their official depth chart, undrafted Calvin Anderson is their new swing tackle…

    • Ak185

      Denver played last season without James, and I think they’re going cold on him. If not for his huge contract (which seemed like an overreaction on Elway’s part to improve the line in a down market year for free agent linemen), I’d have expected him gone. James isn’t bad, but Denver has bright spots in the interior.

      The big question to me in whether they keep James or not is Bolles’ play this year. His run blocking is actually good, and his pass blocking has improved, but his penalties are insane. The only thing that amazes more than Bolles’ holding calls is the fact that Tunsil has more of them. Bolles’ holding is not going to disappear, but if he can reduce it to the point where he can worth a reasonable extension, then James might be gone. If not, it’s likely that James stays. It’d be difficult to replace two starting linemen in your QB’s third year, when he’s expected to grow the most.

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