The Ravens continue to shore up their offensive line since losing Orlando Brown to Kansas City. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Baltimore has signed former Denver Broncos’ offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James to a two-year deal worth up to $9 million.
James, 29, has been in the news recently for his bruhaha with the Broncos. James suffered what he called a ‘football injury’ while working out away from the team facility last month. The injury, which ended up being a torn Achilles tendon which will sideline him for this upcoming season, was argued to be a non-football injury by the team. Denver claims that since the injury took place off-site, they were not obligated to pay his salary and later released him.
Just today, James filed a $15 million grievance against his former team to compensate for his salaries over the next two seasons. James argues that his coaches urged him to work out during the offseason, and therefore his injury was indeed a football injury since it was under the direction of the team.
Why would Baltimore sign a guy who just tore his Achilles and filed a grievance against his last team? Essentially, they’re taking a low-risk, high-reward chance on James. The Ravens will pay James a $500,000 signing bonus over the course of the 2021 season, which he will sit out. Next season, they’ll pay him a base salary of $2.5 million with a $500,000 roster bonus.
According to NFL Insider Ian Rappoport, “It’s essentially a two-year, $3.5 million contract with a chance to make a little bit more with very hard-to-reach incentives. It’s actually a pretty smart deal for the Ravens.”
So there you have it. Some clever financial finagling by Baltimore’s front office has landed them a solid but injured O-lineman for next season. James is a former first-round pick out of Tennessee, selected by Miami at No. 19 overall in 2014. He played there for five seasons before playing just three games in Denver during the 2019 campaign due to knee issues.
James has started 65 games in six professional seasons and is a nice pickup for Baltimore, seeking future depth on its o-line. Alongside Ronnie Stanley, Alejandro Villanueva and the rest of the Ravens’ offensive front, James could prove to be a solid blocker for the Lamar Jackson-led offense in 2022.