Ja’Wuan James

Ravens LT Ja’Wuan James Suffers Torn Achilles

The Ravens entered today’s game without their starting left tackle, and exited it with their top replacement option unavailable as well. Ja’Wuan James left the contest due to an injury which head coach John Harbaugh has since announced is a torn Achilles (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo). 

The news is a crushing blow for the 30-year-old. James’ appearance today was his first since 2019, as he had just made his way back from the Achilles tear which ended his time with the Broncos. After signing with the Ravens last offseason, there was a chance he would have been able to play, but he remained sidelined as 2022 insurance for All-Pro Ronnie Stanley.

The latter’s lingering ankle problems led to him being declared inactive yesterday. Stanley has played just one game since October 2020, and his absence was a significant contributor to the Ravens’ offensive line struggles last year. The team took steps to add both starting and depth options over the offseason, including retaining James despite his injury uncertainty. It was confirmed during the summer that James would be the primary backup on the blindside, even though his experience all-but exclusively came as a right tackle.

Free agent signing Morgan Moses manned that spot, and he is expected to do so despite James’ injury. Filling in for James was Patrick Mekari, who spent most of last season as a fill-in at RT while the Ravens dealt with Stanley’s absence. The former UDFA has proven himself an effective backup across the line, and will likely start at left tackle next week unless Stanley is able to return – something which the team now requires with even more urgency than before today.

AFC West Rumors: James, Waller, Hobbs, Waitman

Back in June of 2021, Ravens offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James filed a grievance against the Broncos seeking $15MM consisting of his 2021 and 2022 salaries of $10MM and $5MM, respectively. James has reportedly settled with his former team and will receive $1.09MM, according to Charean Williams of NBC Sports.

The grievance stems from a torn Achilles that James suffered while working out away from the Broncos’ facility during the 2021 offseason. He missed out on a $9.85MM guaranteed salary that Denver claimed was only guaranteed for injuries sustained at the team facility.

James has not played since the injury and is currently listed as the backup to Baltimore’s starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Ravens fans are hoping not to have to see James come in, but, historically, Stanley has only played in two games since signing a contract extension in October of 2020.

Here are a few more rumors from the AFC West, starting with two rumors out of Sin City:

  • Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels told reporters that star tight end Darren Waller returned to practice today, according to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. Waller had missed six practices since mid-August due to a hamstring injury. Adding Waller back to the mix gives Las Vegas a dangerous array of pass catchers with Waller and receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow.
  • After the trade yesterday that sent former second-round pick Trayvon Mullen to Arizona and with Darius Phillips not making the initial 53-man roster, Raiders nickel cornerback Nate Hobbs is finally set to move to an outside cornerback gig, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic. The team’s coaches have long been boasting of their plans to move Hobbs around on defense, and they now have a prime opportunity to see what he can do on the outside of the secondary.
  • The Broncos surprised quite a few when punter Sam Martin failed to make their initial 53-man roster. Instead, Denver will move forward with former-Steelers punter Corliss Waitman. General manager George Paton attempted to defend the cut by telling reporters that the move was not a reflection of contracts but one of abilities, according to Troy Renck of Denver 7. Martin has been a starting punter since being drafted in the league back in 2013 by the Lions. He had signed a three-year, $7.05MM contract to join the Broncos and was headed into the final year of the deal set to make $2.25MM. Martin reportedly refused to take a pay cut for the 2022 season and Denver now will rely on the leg of Waitman, who holds an $825K cap hit. According to Paton, though, the $1.4MM cap room cleared by cutting Martin had nothing to do with it. Also according to Paton, Waitman, who has two games of NFL play under his belt, simply beat out the veteran kicker with 139 games of NFL experience. Broncos fans will get to judge for themselves when they see Waitman’s regular season debut in a Broncos uniform in Seattle on Monday Night Football.

Ravens Eyeing Ja’Wuan James As Ronnie Stanley Insurance

Ronnie Stanley has played one game since an October 2020 ankle injury sidetracked his career, suiting up for the Ravens’ opener last season but missing the rest of the 2021 campaign due to more ankle trouble. The Ravens are hoping their highest-paid offensive lineman returns to start this season, but after Stanley said he was rushed back in 2021, the team is proceeding cautiously.

The former top-10 pick has undergone three ankle surgeries since the initial injury, and he is coming off a 68-snap season. The Ravens’ backup plan, however, looks to be a player who has dealt with worse injury trouble. If Stanley is not ready to return to start this season, Ja’Wuan James is the favorite to be Baltimore’s left tackle starter, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

James, 30, has Stanley beat for unavailability. Making their biggest attempt to address a long-troublesome right tackle position, the Broncos gave James a four-year, $51MM deal in 2019. James played all of 63 snaps in Denver, suffering a knee injury in Week 1 of the 2019 season. That malady kept James out most of that year. After the ex-Dolphins first-rounder opted out in 2020, an offsite Achilles tear last May led him out of Denver. The Ravens signed James shortly after the Broncos cut him, giving him a two-year deal for stashing purposes. The team will be expecting a return on investment in Year 2 of this deal.

The Ravens gave James some late-season practice time last year, opening his IR-return window. Months later, James participated at Baltimore’s minicamp. John Harbaugh said last month he did not notice the veteran tackle’s Achilles issue, but padded practices will certainly reveal more about James’ viability with the Ravens. The Dolphins used James as their right tackle from 2014-18, and the Broncos had no intention of moving him. A left tackle gig, following this extensive run of absences, would be an interesting development. If James is not ready to go come September, the Ravens could also cut their losses and save $3MM.

While James looms as an atypical fill-in option, the Ravens also re-signed their primary 2021 right tackle — Patrick Mekari — and drafted mammoth Minnesota tackle Daniel Faalele in Round 4. The team was linked to earlier-round tackles but waited until Day 3 to address the spot. Mekari, who has primarily played center and right tackle, appears an ideal swing option for Baltimore. The Ravens signed Morgan Moses to replace Mekari at right tackle.

The team also would prefer to give the 380-pound Faalele a redshirt year of sorts, Zrebiec adds. Given the injury toll teams take up front, that might be difficult to do, as the Ravens will need to carry Faalele on its 53-man roster. But it appears the ex-Golden Gopher is viewed more as a project, with Zrebiec referencing the Eagles’ Jordan Mailata developmental program.

Ravens’ Ja’Wuan James Will Not Play In 2021

As expected, the Ravens will not be seeing any action this year from of one of their offseason acquisitions. Right tackle Ja’Wuan James was not added to the team’s 53-man roster, ending his 21-day window to be activated, per ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The news confirms that his season is over. 

While it was never truly expected that James would be able to recover from a torn Achilles in time to suit up this year, the potential existed when he started practising on December 8th. The 29-year-old signed a two-year, $9MM deal with Baltimore in June in an attempt to add experienced depth at the tackle position after trading away Orlando Brown Jr. 

Without James – and, due to another season-ending surgery performed on starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley in October – veteran Alejandro Villanueva has shifted to his more familiar position at left tackle. That has left the Ravens with a rotation of Patrick Mekari and Tyre Phillips to man the opposite tackle spot, as they have each been in and out of the lineup with injuries.

The Ravens will carry on with their current offensive line as they try to end a four-game losing streak and remain in playoff contention against the Rams in Week 17.


Minor NFL Transactions: 12/8/21

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Designated for return: G D’Ante Smith, CB Trae Waynes

Denver Broncos

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Washington Football Team

Ravens’ Ja’Wuan James Returns To Practice

Despite tearing an Achilles’ tendon in May, Ja’Wuan James has a path to move onto the Ravens’ active roster. The veteran tackle will practice Wednesday.

The Ravens stashed James on their reserve/non-football injury list ahead of Week 1 but hoped he could return to work at some point late in the season. Although it is not certain the former first-round pick will play for his new team this season, the Ravens will check on that prospect in the coming days and weeks.

James signed a two-year, $9MM deal with the Ravens in June. Regardless of his participation this season, the Ravens will aim to redevelop James for the 2022 season. Best known for his five-year stay as the Dolphins’ starting right tackle, James has not seen much action since his Miami days ended.

Previously in position to reclaim his role as the Broncos’ right tackle, after opting out in 2020, James suffered the major injury while training on his own this offseason. That led to a quick Denver exit. The Broncos gave James a big-ticket deal to close their revolving door at right tackle in 2019, but the ex-Dolphins starter missed most of the ’19 season and ended up logging fewer than 100 snaps in total in Denver.

Baltimore’s tackle situation radically changed this year as well. The Ravens traded right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chiefs and signed Alejandro Villanueva. Another Ronnie Stanley injury, however, kicked Villanueva back to left tackle and has left the Ravens weaker than usual up front.

Ravens Reduce Roster To 53

The Ravens cut down their roster to 53 players today, with the team making the following transactions:



Placed on Reserve/NFI

The team also announced a handful of previously reported transactions, which you can find here.

Obviously Pernell and Levine are the two major names on this list, but there’s a chance the veterans land back in Baltimore once the team places a handful of players on IR.

Pernell spent the past two seasons in Baltimore, starting 20 of his 22 appearances. In those 22 games, the 32-year-old collected 53 tackles and six sacks. The veteran also started his career with the Ravens before bouncing between the Bears and Washington. Levine, meanwhile, isn’t a stranger to bouncing on and off the Ravens roster, but he’s still managed to miss only one regular season game for the organization since 2013. That missed game actually came in 2020, when the special teams ace finished with only seven tackles.

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/22/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Giants

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ravens Officially Sign Ja’Wuan James

It’s officially official. On Thursday, free agent offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James inked his Ravens contract. 

James was cut loose by the Broncos earlier this year after suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon. The injury happened outside of the team facility, so he still has some business to settle with his former club. Given the nature of the injury, most assumed that James would spend the year rehabbing before signing his next deal in 2022. Instead, the Ravens moved quickly to sign him to a two-year deal worth up to $9MM in total.

James could even suit up sometime this year, according to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. If James can stay healthy and return to the form he exhibited in South Beach, this could prove to be one of the savviest signings of the year. 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. He’s been a starter ever since he entered the league — save for his stints on the IR.

For now, longtime Steelers starter Alejandro Villanueva is ticketed to handle the right tackle job with Ronnie Stanley returning to his spot on the left side.

Ravens’ Ja’Wuan James Could Play In 2021?

The Ravens recently signed Ja’Wuan James to a two-year deal worth around $9MM. It’ll pay him a minimum salary in 2021 with around $8MM coming in 2022, as James of course tore his Achilles earlier this offseason while working out away from the Broncos’ facility.

Denver then cut him while voiding his hefty salary. James has since filed a grievance looking to recover $10MM in 2021 salary and $5MM in 2022 salary, but in the meantime is a member of the Ravens. It was initially assumed Baltimore signed him as a long-term future investment, but it turns out he could return to play sooner than previously thought.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said yesterday that James hasn’t been ruled out for 2021 and could return to the field in November of December, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (Twitter link). That being said, Harbaugh added it’s not something they’re counting on, just that it’s a possibility.

The Ravens also signed Alejandro Villanueva to be their new starting tackle opposite Ronnie Stanley after trading Orlando Brown Jr., but it’s possible James will be viewed as an upgrade over Villanueva once he’s healthy.

James’ time in Denver was plagued by injuries, but he was a very solid starter for Miami before that.