There's plenty of optimism surrounding the Denver Broncos entering 2020, but they suffered a bit of a blow on Monday when starting right tackle Ja'Wuan James decided to opt out of the season due to COVID-19. According to ESPN, the Broncos were aware that James was considering the move in recent weeks. He joins Kyle Peko as the only Broncos players to opt out of 2020 due to concerns related to the coronavirus.
James explained his reasoning on Twitter, saying that "it is a tough, but the right decision." The offensive tackle said that there is just too much we don't know about this virus and that he has a newborn son that has become his priority. Additionally, one of his family members was hospitalized with COVID-19, and he feels as though risking the health of his loved ones just isn't enough to suit up this season.
You can read James' full statement below:
Denver signed James to a monster four-year deal worth $51 million last offseason, which made him the highest-paid right tackle in the league. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury in the season opener which hampered him all year. He made just three starts in 2019 as the Broncos went 7-9.
A product 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.
As the deadline to opt out quickly approaches, more players will announce that they will be passing on the opportunity to suit up for the 2020 NFL season due to the ongoing pandemic. To keep up with who will pass on playing this year, check out CBS Sports' opt-out tracker here.