The Baltimore Ravens signed right tackle Ja’Wuan James to a two-year contract last June, knowing that he might not be able to recover from a torn Achilles in time to play in 2021. As it turns out, the former first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins (No. 19 overall in 2014) didn’t get in a game last year, though he did begin practicing with the Ravens on December 8.
Now there’s a chance that James might never play for the Ravens at all, at least in the eyes of Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report, who has labeled James as the “best player who could be cut” from the Ravens’ roster before the regular-season rolls around.
One reason is that the Ravens have added new options at the position in the past few months.
“They signed veteran Morgan Moses to a three-year deal and selected Daniel Faalele in the fourth round of the draft,” notes Wharton, referring to the former Washington Commanders and New York Jets right tackle, as well as the team’s mammoth rookie tackle, who is listed at 6-foot-8 and 380 pounds — measurements that may be conservative.
The Ravens Could Save $3 Million by Cutting Ja’Wuan James
Another reason is that the Ravens can move on from James with minimal salary cap ramifications, as he received a relatively modest $500,000 signing bonus when he signed with Baltimore.
As such, the Ravens could release James and save $3 million, while incurring a mere $250,000 dead money cap hit, according to overthecap.com.
“They could use the money they save on him to spend on a veteran receiver after trading away No. 1 option Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown during the 2022 draft,” opines Wharton.
Even if James returns to action in 2022, one wonders how effective he can be after not having played since 2019, a year in which he appeared in three games for the Denver Broncos, with whom he signed a four-year, $51 million contract that year. And he hasn’t played anything close to a full season since 2018, when he started 15 games for the Dolphins.
Of course, James — 6-foot-6 and 312 pounds — was a pretty good player for the team that drafted him, starting a total of 65 games during the five years he toiled in the trenches for the Dolphins. That’s what prompted the Broncos to give him a lucrative second NFL contract, one that included $32 million guaranteed.
But he was injured in his very first game for the Broncos and came back to play in just two more games the rest of that year. Then he opted out in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and went on to suffer his Achilles injury while training away from the team in May 2021.
James is also getting up there in years, at least by offensive tackle standards, as he turns 30 on June 3, 2022.
The Suwanee, Ga. native played his college football for the University of Tennessee Vols, where he started all 49 games in which he appeared. That set a new Volunteers record for career starts by an offensive lineman, eclipsing the previous mark of 48, which was set by Jeff Smith.
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Ravens Withdraw Tender for Ty’Son Williams
Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Ravens withdrew their exclusive rights contract tender for running back Ty’Son Williams, this according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The move follows in the wake of the Ravens signing former Atlanta Falcons running back Mike Davis.
Williams, who had 35 carries for 185 yards in 2021, is now a free agent.