A day after the Ravens struck a two-year deal with James, coach John Harbaugh did not rule him out for the 2021 season. James tore his Achilles tendon in April in a workout away from the Denver Broncos' facility and was later cut by the team.
"The Achilles injury is one that he could possibly be back this year even -- November [or] December maybe," Harbaugh said after Tuesday's offseason practice. "I wouldn't say we're counting on that. But it's certainly something you know is possible."
James, 29, is set to sign a two-year deal worth up to $9 million with the Ravens, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. He still has to pass a physical, but the exam will not include his current injury and no issues are expected, sources said.
Harbaugh believes James has a chance to return in 2021 because former Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had a similar Achilles injury at the same time of year in 2012 and returned by late October.
"We'll just see what happens," Harbaugh said. "It's always good to add another good player who is a really good person and hard-working guy."
The return of James would solidify Baltimore's right tackle spot even more. The Ravens traded Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs before the draft and then signed Alejandro Villanueva, a career left tackle, to fill the void on the right side.
James has made 65 starts at right tackle in six seasons, but he has struggled to remain healthy. He played only three games in 2019 because of issues with his left knee, opted not to play in 2020 because of the pandemic and then tore his Achilles two months ago.
According to sources, James will make $500,000 guaranteed this season and can earn a $500,000 roster bonus, $2.5 million base salary and an additional $5 million in incentives in 2022.
"It's a tough set of circumstances for him," Harbaugh said. "But, from what I understand, he's very determined to get himself healthy and get back to playing at the highest level."