Ja'Wuan James Released by Broncos After Suffering Achilles Injury

Adam WellsMay 14, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 27: Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James #70 in the first half against the  Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 27, 2019. (Photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

After tearing his Achilles while working out away from team facilities, offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James has been released by the Denver Broncos. 

Per ESPN's Field Yates, the Broncos announced James' release Friday.

ESPN's Jeff Legwold reported May 4 that James suffered a season-ending injury during a workout, but since it occurred away from the Broncos' facilities, the team could designate it as a non-football injury and release him without having to pay any of his $9.85 million base salary. 

After James' release became official, the 28-year-old took to Twitter to criticize the NFL Players Association for not properly protecting players despite encouraging them to stay away from team facilities during the offseason:

Ja'Wuan James @JawuanJames70

@NFLPA if your gonna advise all of us we need you to have our backs on the other end of this. https://t.co/TCwxSJqfms

Last month, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that NFLPA president JC Tretter told his fellow players on a conference call that the union was pushing "for an all-virtual offseason—and would urge players to boycott if teams conduct in-person OTAs this spring."

Tretter said on the call that the NFLPA has been telling owners "we’re not gonna go” to any voluntary workouts. 

The call came as the union and owners were negotiating an offseason program amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes was among the notable players who was critical of the possibility of the Broncos cutting James: 


The league sent a memo to all 32 teams April 14 to remind them that players are only protected under the CBA if they get injured while working out at their club's facilities. 

An injury that occurs at an off-site location without authorization from the team is deemed a non-football injury, clearing the team of any financial obligation to pay the player. 

James signed a four-year, $51 million contract with the Broncos as a free agent in March 2019. The deal included a $12 million signing bonus and $32 million guaranteed. 

A knee injury limited James to three games in his first season with the Broncos. He opted out of playing last year because of the pandemic.