It happened again to the Broncos. They got played like a PlayStation by one of the richest right tackles in NFL history that only played in 63 snaps last season.
Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James has opted out of playing this season. I can tell you that on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most furious, Broncos general manager John Elway is sitting at an 11.
James suffered a knee injury early last season, which ended up keeping him out of the lineup until Week 14 against the Texans. During that Houston game, James only played in the first half before deciding he couldn’t play in the second half.
I have two sources that spoke to people inside of the Dolphins organization when James was there and they both said the same thing. They described James as soft and unwilling to fight through a small, minor injury. James will only play when he is 100 percent! I was also told that the Dolphins had tried to cut him multiple times, but couldn’t because of other injuries that occurred to other players and were forced to keep James on the roster.
For some reason, despite all of those issues in Miami, the Broncos were willing to make him the highest-paid right tackle in NFL history at that time. No other team in the NFL would have given James that kind of money. Even after Denver having issues with the acquisitions of Menelik Watson and Donald Stephenson in the previous two seasons, the Broncos still thought it was a good idea to pay a struggling right tackle.
James would make $17 million last year according to Mike Klis. That money went to someone who only played in 63 snaps. This is also a player that was cleared to play last season, but he refused to go on the field. Even Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said last season, “He’s cleared to play, but we have to get him ready to play.” Fangio also said, “He’s got to get mentally ready to play, emotionally ready to play.” That’s code for Fangio calling his right tackle soft!
Just when Broncos Country thought the 2020 season would be the final season for Ja’Wuan James, he decided to opt out.
Now, it’s understandable that James would opt out due to the circumstances and health concerns going around in this country, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that James would opt out. He will get at least $150,000 to not play this season and will also push his contract back a year. This means that James will receive his guaranteed $10 million in the 2021 season. If he didn’t opt out, 2020 might have been his final season as a Bronco, but that’s not the case now. Denver also cannot release him next year because it will cost $19 million in dead cap space in 2021.
To put it in more perspective, James will get more than $27 million from the Broncos after playing in only 63 snaps.
In his statement made yesterday, he said, “There was a false narrative painted of me last year.” I’m here to tell you that there is no false narrative on Ja’Wuan James based based on the sources I’ve talked with.
Now with James not playing this season, the Broncos are going to have to hope that Elijah Wilkinson can overcome his foot injury that required surgery this offseason and play right tackle. The issue is that Wilkinson was supposed to compete with Garett Bolles for the left tackle spot, but that’s not going to happen.
The Broncos refused to add depth on this offensive line and it’s clearly showing, especially at the tackle position.
James has the right to opt out of this season for personal reasons, but in all reality Ja’Wuan James has played the Broncos like a PlayStation and is making them look silly.
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