ORLANDO — The Dolphins could have reneged on a fifth-year option for offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, or even traded him.
But Miami coach Adam Gase revealed Tuesday that a key post-season meeting with James made him excited about the prospect of keeping James on the roster.
“We felt at the end of the day Ja’Wuan wanted to be back,” Gase said. “He wanted to get an opportunity to really finish off last year the right way and continue building on what he felt he was building on. And you know we had a great conversation to where we felt he deserves that shot to get what he wants. To where he can come in and be a part of that group. And be an impact guy for us. I think the biggest thing that excited me is he wants to be here. It meant a lot to him to be back. He wanted to be a part of this. He wanted to be a part of us taking last season and building off of it and finding a way to win this year.”
James will earn about $9.3 million this season, which makes him one of the highest-paid right tackles in the game.
As a former first rounder, James has excellent speed and athleticism. Coaches have just wanted James to improve his consistency.
‘You know, I think we looked through all our options,” Gase said. “I think he had a chance to think through how he felt. We had a lot of discussion with him. And his agent. And us. Between (offensive coordinator) Dowell (Loggains) and (offensive line coach) Jeremiah (Washburn) and (assistant) Chris Kuper.”
According to Pro Football Focus, James was the 17th-best offensive tackle in the NFL last season, and the 5th-best pass blocking offensive tackle. This is critical, as the Dolphins aim to protect Ryan Tannehill better than in 2016, when he played his last game.
If James performs better than he has throughout his career, the Dolphins will look to extend him.
If not, he’ll obviously move on.
But the Dolphins decided he was their best option for 2018.