Following yet another setback, Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James could be done with the team.
On Monday, news came out that James tore his Achillies during a workout away from the team facility. It was initially reported as a season-ending injury, but other reports indicate that there is hope he won’t miss the whole season.
The Broncos can stop hoping to get this guy back on the field because he’s proven to be about as unreliable as it gets.
Injuries are unfortunate, but James has just had too many. He also opted out of the season last year and may have lost the confidence of many of his teammates. Monday’s news creates a hole at right tackle, and the tackle spot is one the team chose not to address in the draft.
The Broncos will have to figure out a solution quickly, but back to James. He is the worst free-agent signing in team history. That may sound harsh and it may seem like a knee-jerk reaction to this news, but let’s break this down.
During the offseason before the 2019 year, James signed a four-year, $51 million contract with the team. Since then, the Broncos have gotten three games out of him. Just three.
And it wasn’t like James didn’t come with some injury concerns before signing hi. He was a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2014, but he missed at least half of the season in two of his five seasons there.
James was hurt in his very first game with the Broncos in 2019 and played in just two more before missing the rest of that season. He then opted out in 2020, leaving the Broncos to go forward with the combination of Elijah Wilkinson and Demar Dotson.
Here’s a telling stat: For his career, James could have played in 112 regular-season games since being drafted. He’s suited up for just 65 of those games, or 58 percent.
John Elway did a bad job finding guys to play right tackle during his tenure as president of football operations, including Ty Sambrailo, Donald Stephenson and Menelik Watson. All of those guys were bad, but none of them cost the money that he gave to James.
The Broncos have had some bad free-agent signings over the years. Here is a list of some of the worst. But James is worse than any of them, and that’s saying something.
The Broncos should drop the hope that he won’t miss all of this season, find the best replacement possible at this point, and move forward.