The Miami Dolphins signed offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James to a 4-year rookie contract in 2014. James will serve as the team’s starting right tackle in 2016.
Ja’Wuan James has been on the Dolphins’ roster since joining the team as a draft pick in 2014. After being selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the team signed him to a four-year, $8.4 million rookie contract (with a fifth year option), including a $4.4 million signing bonus, all $8.4 million guaranteed, and an average annual salary of just over $2 million. The team’s drafting of James was aimed at giving the team a consistently good, starting right tackle.
James started all 7 of the games that he played in during the 2015 season, missing more than half of the season after suffering a toe injury midway through the season. At first, the injury was believed to be a dislocated big toe, though some speculated that it was turf toe. Regardless of the specific injury, James missed each of the last 9 games of the season.
James’ performance prior to the injury was good in pass protection, but his performance often suffered due to the lack of quality right guard play. As a result, he often over-committed on blocking and was unable to pick up the inside rush. This came after a 2014 rookie year in which he was good, not great, but showed enough potential that there were high hopes heading into 2015.
7 starts in 7 games played at right tackle.
James will enter the 2016 season as the Dolphins’ starting right tackle, a position he has held since starting there as a rookie. The hope is that he can remain healthy for the entire season and live up to the potential he showed, and the contract he signed, in 2014. The Dolphins need James to be the stabilizing force he has been when healthy while also improving his core strength.
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The upcoming season is important for James and the Dolphins in determining his future and the future of the right tackle position. Because James’ contract will be up at the end of the 2017 season, it is important to learn if he is going to become the Dolphins’ franchise right tackle. The Dolphins have two years, but they need to develop talent next to, and perhaps behind him, heading into the 2018 season. James himself reflected upon the upcoming season in the Dolphins’ five questions with James: http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Five-Questions-With-JaWuan-James/25d9a040-1eb7-4c19-9b12-20cc29e8a283.
James was originally the Dolphins’ first-round draft pick (19th overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft.