The Denver Broncos are cutting right tackle Ja'Wuan James loose, and it looks like the team won't be paying him on his way out.
The team made the decision to release James, who signed a four-year, $51 million contract with the team in 2019, a little over a week after the lineman tore his Achilles tendon while working out away from the team facility.
Before the move, the Broncos reportedly placed James on the non-football injury list with the intention to not pay him his $10 million salary for the season. A grievance from James is likely to come in response.
Because James sustained the Achilles tear while working out away from the Broncos' facilities, as part of a team-wide sitting out of voluntary workouts due to a lack of COVID-19 protocols, his injury was technically deemed a non-football injury. That led to the Broncos opting to simply cut James loose.
Thanks to that series of decisions, which the NFL affirmed in a memo, James is set to lose an eight-figure sum for the transgression of training for football while observing his union's boycott over safety in a pandemic. Contrast that to MLB, where Oakland Athletics pitcher Jesús Luzardo will likely keep his salary after breaking a finger on a table while playing video games.
The NFLPA and James' peers around the league are, predictably, irate over the situation, while James doesn't seem too happy with his union.
James ended up playing only three games for the Broncos over the course of his hefty contract. He missed nearly all of his first season in Denver due to a knee injury, then opted out of last season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of that opt-out, he also gave up nearly his entire salary last season as well.
James will now hit free agency, entering a season that is already lost. We'll see how long it takes for a team to give him a call.
Not the only Bronco in this situation
The same day James was released, Broncos wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton entered the same situation with an off-site Achilles tear. Making it all even more unfortunate is that Hamilton, who was previously buried on the Broncos wide receiver depth chart, was set to be traded after this weekend.
You can probably guess how all of that will end.
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