The Miami Dolphins will pick up the fifth-year option on right tackle Ja’Wuan James, according to league sources familiar with the team’s intentions, meaning the team extends its rights to the player for one more year and the offensive lineman will not be going into the 2017 season as a contract year.
This comes on the heels of executive vice president and general manager Chris Grier recently declining to say whether the fifth-year option would be used on James.
“We are close to getting that finalized,” Tannenbaum said when asked about it Saturday. “I know we have a little bit more time and you guys will have nothing to write about for Monday; so we will just keep that suspenseful for a couple of more days. But (Head Coach) Adam (Gase), Chris and I have talked about that. We are pretty close here. We just want to get through the weekend.
“We are in the midst of finalizing 14 free agent signings upstairs, so there is a lot of paperwork going on as we speak.”
The Dolphins can add one more bit of paperwork to the workload as they will guarantee James’s 2018 salary at between $8-$9 million expected for offensive linemen.
The fifth-year option, a product of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, enables teams to control the rights of first-round draft picks for one season beyond the mandatory four-year contract. James, drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft would be done with his rookie contract following the 2017 season were it not for the fifth-year option.
The option is guaranteed for injury only. Teams can void the deal until the first day of the 2018 league year if they wish.
That seems unlikely barring a terrible season by James.
But the Dolphins don’t expect that. Indeed, they believe James has the potential to become a premier NFL right tackle and have said as much publicly.
For that reason the option will be placed on him before Wednesday’s deadline.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero