In a surprise move, the Ravens agreed to sign offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). James is unlikely to play anytime soon due to a ruptured Achilles. Still, the Ravens moved to sign him with the hope that he’ll be 100% healthy for 2022. The deal could pay up to $9M in total.
The deal is still pending a physical, though the exam will account for James’ primary injury. If all goes well, James will put pen to paper this week and collect $500K in guaranteed money for 2021. In essence, he’s getting $500K to rehab under team supervision this year and agreeing to play for $8M in 2022. Beyond that, James can reach the full $9M via incentives.
After spending his first five years with the Dolphins, James inked a four-year, $51M deal with Denver to serve as the Broncos' long-term starter. Due to knee injuries, the former first-round pick only appeared in three games in 2019. Then, he opted out of the 2020 season. Now, he’s moving on to Baltimore, though he’s still hashing out some financial matters with his old club.
The Ravens see James as a potential heir to the right tackle job. They’ve got Alejandro Villanueva under contract for the next two years, but he’s unlikely to match Orlando Brown‘s level of performance. James, in theory, could provide better protection in 2022 with Villanueva serving as a backup.