Player #1: Ja’Wuan James
Here’s the deal — Ja’Wuan James would be the ultimate tackle to fix the woes that this team has had over the past seasons. The Miami Dolphins have shopped him around for the past few seasons on the trade market but they’d always seem to find a way to retain him on the roster.
The 26-year-old has had some issues with his health with a hamstring injury in 2017 hampering him to just eight games of action. But his pass blocking, something this current tackles unit has lacked — one of James’ best assets — he’d make an immediate impact to the line. He doesn’t give up a lot of sacks as well, giving up just seven for all of 2018. He was relatively healthy last season, having only missed one game.
I had proposed last season that the Houston Texans trade for the 6-foot-6, 312-pound tackle but nothing in that regard ever materialized. But now that he’s one of the top free agent tackles on the market this season, the team will have to get line with a whole bunch of suitors, waiting to throw some money at him.
The Houston Texans have about $80 million in cap space to spend this off season, which was more than double of last season’s $34 million so they have the money to make a notable splash in free agency.
And let me tell you, James would be a hell of a start for this team.
He’s primarily a right tackle so he’d be bumping heads with Henderson but I think one could still bring him in to provide even more depth for the roster. Plus, he does have some experience at left tackle, having taken 477 snaps in his career but just nine this past season.
I’d offer him a four-year, $46 million deal with $20 million guaranteed to get the ball rolling, giving him an average of $11.5 million per season, an 10.6 percent increase in pay over the $9.3 million he made on his fifth-year option last season.
Would that be enough? We’ll have to keep an eye out!
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), James had a 70.8 overall grade, a 67.3 pass block grade and 69.1 run block grade last season. He finished the season allowing 26 pressures — 16 quarterback hurries, seven sacks and three QB hits — along with just seven penalties to his credit through 815 snaps.