The Broncos released injured offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James on Friday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, after placing him on the reserve/non-football injury list last week.
Earlier this month, James tore his Achilles while working out at an off-site location, and he tweeted on Friday that his surgery went well. Doctors told the 28-year-old last week but they're hopeful he won't miss the entire season, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Since this happened away from the Broncos’ facility, the team has the ability through the collective bargaining agreement to withhold his 2021 base salary, which was a guaranteed $10 million.
James had been working out at the Broncos’ facility this offseason until the NFLPA urged players to boycott on-site work due to COVID-19 concerns. Denver's players announced in early April that they wouldn't be participating in the team's voluntary offseason workouts.
"With offseason programs starting in less than a week and without adequate protocols in place in order for us players to return safely, we will be exercising our right to not participate in voluntary offseason workouts," Denver's players said in a statement by the NFL Players Association. "COVID-19 remains a serious threat to our families and to our communities, and it makes no sense to us as players to put ourselves at risk during this dead period.
"Positivity rates in our city are higher than they were at this time last year and we know players have been infected at club facilities in recent weeks."
James isn’t the only Broncos player who has been injured this offseason away from the team facility. Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton tore a knee ligament Friday morning, according to Rapoport. It was rumored that the team had been trying to trade him in recent days instead of waiving Hamilton and were reportedly in talks with at least one team as recently as Thursday.
The tackle tweeted at the NFLPA as the news of his release broke, saying "if your gonna advise all of us we need you to have our backs on the other end of this."
Denver signed Bobby Massie and Cameron Fleming this week, who are both likely candidates to fill the hole left by James's release.
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