After not taking an offensive tackle in the 2021 NFL Draft and signing former Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl left tackle, Alejandro Villanueva, shortly after, the Baltimore Ravens are doubling down with another veteran free agent signing according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter.
Former Broncos’ OT Ja'Wuan James, who ruptured his Achilles in April, is signing a two-year deal worth up to $9 million with the Ravens, sources tell ESPN. James still has to pass his physical with the Ravens, but it will not include his current injury and no issues expected.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 7, 2021
Ja'Wuan James’ agents, Bill Johnson and Matt Pope, negotiated the two-year deal with the Ravens that includes $500,000 in guaranteed money this year, per source. So the Ravens are paying him $500k to rehab this year and to have him under contract north of $8 million next year. https://t.co/xXe4ESwqYm— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 7, 2021
The news of this deal broke soon after James reportedly filed a grievance against the Denver Broncos for his release with a non-football injury designation.
Breaking: Former Broncos OT Ja'Wuan James files grievance seeking $15 million, hints at possible collusion between league and team. https://t.co/mbElZ3crqQ— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 7, 2021
Since James suffered his injury last month, he will likely miss all of the 2021 season with the expectation that he will rehab with the Ravens this year and be ready in 2022. The 29-year old was originally a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2014 at No. 19 overall out of Tennessee. He only appeared in three games for the Broncos because of a knee injury in 2019 and opted out of the 2020 season.
He is an experienced and natural right tackle who has started 65 games and will compete with Villanueva next offseason for the starting spot opposite of Ronnie Stanley. It’s a bit of a surprising move from the Ravens but it’s also a low-risk-high-reward venture that could pay off if he fully recovers and returns to pre-injury form.