Broncos release Ja'Wuan James, reportedly won't pay him $10M salary after off-site injury

Written By Jacob Camenker
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(Getty Images)

When Ja'Wuan James suffered a torn Achilles last week while participating in an off-site workout, the veteran Broncos offensive tackle saw his season come to an end.

So, too, did his time in Denver.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Broncos released James on Friday after placing him on their non-football injury list. Because the workout took place away from the team facility, the team won't be on the hook for any of James' $10 million salary this year 

That's tough news for James. While he may appeal, NFL rules do not appear to be on his side.

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As detailed by Nick Shook of NFL.com, the league confirmed last week in a memo to all 32 teams that clubs have "no contractual obligation" to cover injuries to players who work out outside an NFL facility.

Injuries sustained while a player is working out "on his own" in a location other than an NFL facility are considered "Non-Football Injuries" and are outside the scope of a typical skill, injury and cap guarantee. Such injuries are also not covered by the protections found in paragraph 9 of the NFL Player Contract, meaning that clubs have no contractual obligation to provide salary continuation during the year in which the injury was sustained.

That's a rule players are going to want to rework when the next round of CBA negotiations come up. RIght now, fair or not, it doesn't look as if the Broncos will pay James this year.

The 28-year-old will now have to hope that another team signs him as he rehabilitates his injury. But since he has played in just three games since signing with Denver in 2019, he'll probably have to turn his attention to the 2022 offseason.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have been busy looking for potential replacements for James. They recently signed free agents Bobby Massie and Cam Fleming to compete for the right tackle job. Massie, 31, has started 110 games during his career while Fleming, 28, has 42 total starts, 16 of which came last season with the Giants.

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