Among the big splash moves the Denver Broncos made on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period was to reel in a right tackle, making former Miami Dolphins lineman Ja’Wuan James the highest-paid player at the position in the league with a four-year, $51 million contract, $32 of which is guaranteed.
However, not all lauded the move, with a source telling 104.3 The Fan’s Sandy Clough that he “astounded” by the deal.
“I was talking to somebody today who’s been around the Dolphins for the past three years on a regular basis and wasn’t exactly aware of the contract terms, particularly the guarantee. And if he had been drinking coffee at the time, he would have spit the coffee out of his mouth,” Clough said.
Clough said that in what he learned, James is by all accounts a “really nice guy,” the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back, who comes from a fine family, and who values education.
“But, to a person, people will tell you Ja’Wuan James just doesn’t really like playing football all that much,” Clough said.
Instead, Clough said, James’ first sport was basketball. But when the 6-foot-6, 312-pound athlete started filling out, he was “sort of eased into football as something other than his first sport because he looked the part.”
“And people couldn’t imagine, with his level of athleticism, his intelligence, that he wouldn’t turn into a very good football player,” Clough said.
With that information, Clough said he’s not sure James is “any kind of a long-term solution for the Broncos at right tackle” and he fits the description of similar players who’ ve failed to find success at the position for Denver in the recent past — Donald Stephenson, Menelik Watson, and others.
“I am not sure he will collect $52 million over the next four years,” Clough said. “But he certainly will receive $32 million guaranteed over the next four years, that we know.”
However, earlier on Tuesday, 104.3 The Fan’s Orlando Franklin said he “loves” the moves, specifically because James worked with new Broncos assistant offensive line coach Chris Kuper in Miami the past few seasons.
“When you’re paying a guy to become the highest-paid right tackle, you’ve got to assume that he checks all the boxes, that he’s not going to be a guy who’s lazy, he’s going to be a guy who shows up to work each and every day,” Franklin said. “But, you have a guy in Chris Kuper in-house that’s been with him already before, that’s been with him for the past three years, that knows exactly the type of person he is. So, the Broncos would have never made this move without consulting Chris Kuper.
“And, for them to make this move and make this guy, Ja’Wuan James, now the highest-paid right tackle in the league, it tells me that Chris Kuper gave the stamp of approval.”
Franklin also touted James’ versatilities, saying that though he’ll play right tackle he can switch sides of the line if needed.
“If Garett Bolles continues to struggle, he’s a valuable option that you can move to the left tackle position,” Franklin said. “So, I love (the signing) because of that.”
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @JohnnyHart7.
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