Broncos offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James is expected to miss the entire 2021 NFL season after suffering a torn Achilles today.
James experienced the injury while working out on his own, away from the team facility, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. That he got hurt on his own — and not at the voluntary team workouts that many players are choosing not to attend this offseason — means the Broncos are not obligated to pay his $10 million salary for 2021.
One of the risks inherent in the NFL Players Association’s strategy of encouraging players not to report to offseason work was that a player would suffer a serious injury on his own, and James appears to be the first player to suffer a serious injury while taking that risk.
A first-round draft pick of the Dolphins in 2014, James signed with the Broncos in 2019. He managed to play just three games in Denver that year because of a knee injury, and then he opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19. Now it will likely be at least another year before he’s ready to return to the field.