The Denver Broncos were forced to deal with several notable injuries during the 2020 season, and they are off to another poor start in 2021. On Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that starting right tackle Ja'Wuan James suffered a torn Achilles while working out, and that he will miss the entire 2021 season.
James signed a four-year, $51 million deal with the Broncos in 2019, but the contract has not worked out for either side. He made just three starts for the Broncos in 2019 before a knee injury forced him to sit out the rest of the season, he then opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he will now miss the 2021 campaign with an Achilles injury.
James was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Tennessee. He made the Pro Football Writers Association's All-Rookie Team while starting all 16 games. James then started the first seven games of the 2015 season before suffering a toe injury which landed him on injured reserve. He also missed half of the season in 2017 due to a hamstring issue. In all, James has played in 65 of 96 possible regular-season games -- not including 2020.
Unfortunately, the Broncos also lost reserve Elijah Wilkinson in free agency, who opened up the season at right tackle last year. The Broncos did not draft a prospective tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft, but it's possible they could add another player who could come in and start immediately. On Wednesday, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Broncos are bringing former Tennessee Titans right tackle Dennis Kelly in for a visit next week. The former swing tackle started all 16 games for the first time in his career last season at right tackle, and helped Derrick Henry become just the eighth player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season.