Ja'Wuan James hasn’t yet been ruled out for 2021 after tearing his Achilles, and one team is willing to take a chance on him.
James is signing a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Baltimore Ravens, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The deal includes an additional $5 million in incentives, but only $500,000 of it is guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus. James will also receive an additional $500,000 via a roster bonus in March if he’s still on the team.
When healthy, James was productive enough to fetch a four-year, $51 million deal from the Denver Broncos in 2019. He played in just three games with Denver, though, due to a knee injury in his first season and his decision to opt out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A torn Achilles suffered away from the Broncos’ facility spelled an end to his time with Denver and led to a grievance filed by James seeking approximately $15 million in lost wages, Rapoport reported earlier Monday.
For Baltimore, the deal with James is essentially a flier taken on a player who was worth significant money when healthy. With just the aforementioned $500,000 in guarantees and a minuscule cap hit for 2021 and 2022 ($500,000 in 2021 and $250,000 in 2022, per Rapoport), adding James with the expectation he’ll need a long runway for return is a low-risk decision with potentially high upside.
James, meanwhile, will split his focus between rehabilitation of his surgically repaired Achilles and gaining an understanding of his new team’s offense, while also awaiting a decision on his recently filed grievance.
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