INDIANAPOLIS — If the Miami Dolphins were to decide to release starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James, the player would need to be healthy.
James missed the last eight games of last season with a hamstring injury. But it appears that is no longer a concern.
“As far as medically, (James is) healthy and we’ve got to make a decision here coming up,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “We’ve still got a couple weeks before we have to make any type of decision.”
James is due to make more than $9 million on a fifth-year option. But the club can renege on that option without salary cap penalty as long as it’s before the start of the 2018 league calendar.
It is possible the Dolphins further engage James’ representation on a long-term deal. But it is also possible that James and his agent already know he is more likely to earn a bigger deal elsewhere.
At times, James has flashed all the reasons why he was a former first-round draft choice. At times, coaches have said James has been inconsistent.
The Dolphins could use Jesse Davis at right tackle, but it seems like they really like how he has played at right guard.
“We’ve had a lot of discussion about this,” Gase said. “For Davis, really playing the majority of his snaps at right guard, I think he did a good job there. Him and Sam (Young) really developed something there toward the end. We’ll just see how everything kinda plays out. We have a lot of time here. We have to make decisions on so many players and kinda see how free agency goes, see how the draft goes. We’ll kinda sort through all this stuff. We want to just try to get as many guys as we can to compete in that room and try to find a way to make ourselves better.”
The Dolphins could certainly re-sign Young. But if James departs, it would seem to increase the chances Miami would draft a tackle in the first round.