The 2019 season opener for the Denver Broncos was a disappointing one in many different facets. While they suffered a 24-16 loss to the Oakland Raiders, they also lost a few important players to injuries, including their new right tackle.
Ja'Wuan James exited the Monday Night Football matchup on the Broncos' second drive and did not return. Initial reports indicated that the knee injury he suffered could be serious, but the MRI completed on Tuesday yielded good news. According to Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post, head coach Vic Fangio told reporters on Wednesday that James will be out "a couple weeks" with what he called a "knee sprain."
Denver signed the 27-year-old offensive tackle this offseason, inking him to a monster four-year deal worth $51 million. At the time, it made him the highest-paid right tackle in the league, and it was just the most recent addition made by Denver to solidify the offensive front.
The Broncos have struggled to protect their many starting quarterbacks over the past three years, and as a result they spent their 2017 first-round pick on left tackle Garett Bolles and their second-round pick this year on the versatile left guard Dalton Risner. James was Denver's prized free-agent signing this offseason, and it hurts that he will have to miss some time with this injury.
Coming out of the University of Tennessee, James was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He made the Pro Football Writers Association's All-Rookie Team while starting all 16 games. He started the first seven games of the 2015 season before suffering a toe injury which landed him on injured reserve. Over his five seasons with the Dolphins, James started all 62 games in which he was active.