Broncos place RT Ja'Wuan James (Achilles) on non-football injury list

Days removed from tearing his Achilles while working out away from the Denver Broncos team facility, right tackle Ja'Wuan James was officially placed on the non-football injury list Friday.

James was injured Tuesday and could miss all of the upcoming 2021 season, though NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported James was set for surgery this week and a more accurate recovery table was likely to emerge after the procedure.

James, who opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is due $10 million in base salary in 2021, but as the injury occurred off-site, the Broncos are not contractually obligated to pay him as it's designated as a non-football injury list.

Though the rule was already in place, James' injury brought it to the forefront and created a groundswell of concern via social media from players. As a result, the league sent out a memo to all clubs on Wednesday to remind them and clarify that injuries sustained by players while working out off-site are categorized as non-football injuries. And furthermore that players' salaries are therefore not guaranteed if the injury is deemed of the non-football variety.

On Thursday, the NFL Players Association emailed players expressing its dismay with the rule.

Though the discussion and disagreement spurred by James is ongoing, the decision on his compensation or lack thereof will ultimately reside with the Broncos.

For now, though, James has officially landed on the NFI list.

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