When Ja’Wuan James opted out of the 2020 Denver Broncos season you could almost feel the collective eye roll of Broncos Country.
It’s not that James was wrong to opt out, or that he should be ridiculed for his decision, but more so, that the tackle position has become John Elway’s unicorn.
When Ian St. Clair and I sat down to record the MHR Radio Podcast, the discussion inevitably turned to the mistakes made by Elway regarding this position. All I have to do to make Ian mad is mention Mitchell Schwartz or Donald Stephenson. They go hand in hand, as the Kansas City Chiefs dropped Stephenson to make room for Schwartz, and Elway jumped all over those Stephenson sloppy seconds.
Tackle just seems to be a blind spot for the Broncos GM. Garett Bolles was the pick in 2017 over Ryan Ramczyk? It just makes the blood boil at times.
For now, it looks like Elijah Wilkinson will be the guy to step into James’ spot in the lineup. There are other potential options, but as we discussed on the podcast, Benjamin Allbright has said on Broncos Country Tonight that Wilkinson could benefit greatly from just knowing where he is going to be everyday.
The faith in Mike Munchak makes it seem as if Denver will be content with staying where they are. The interior offensive line looks like it will be solid in 2020. That could work to take some of the pressure off both tackle positions.
The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing players to make decisions that effect their families, and their careers. James made a choice that was best for him and his family. Broncos Country is going to have to live with that choice. Hopefully, whoever fills in will be able to get the job done.