Ja'Wuan James is seeking approximately $15 million in lost wages through a grievance filed against his former team, the Broncos, on Monday. But the veteran offensive tackle won't have to wait for Denver to potentially pay up to earn big bucks over the next few seasons. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Ravens have signed James to a two-year, $9 million deal despite the lineman suffering a torn Achilles this offseason, in hopes the former first-round pick will be ready to suit up in 2022.
James' deal is contingent on the 29-year-old tackle passing a physical with the Ravens, per Schefter, but "no issues (are) expected" in that regard. Baltimore will pay the veteran $500,000 guaranteed to rehabilitate this year, then have James under contract at more than $8 million in 2022. It's a drastic turn of events for James, who was released by the Broncos 10 days after tearing his Achilles while working out away from team facilities, losing about $13 million he was originally due this year.
James, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Dolphins, has only played three games over the last two years. He's battled injury issues since entering the NFL, missing nine games in 2015, eight in 2017 and 13 in 2019. He also opted out of the entire 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 and will miss the entire 2021 season while recovering from his injury.
His grievance claims his recent Achilles tear should be considered a football injury, as Denver saved money by cutting him after placing him on the non-football injury list. His offsite workout also occurred in part, the grievance argues, because Broncos players had been advised by the NFL Players Association to work out independently in place of voluntary team workouts early in the offseason.