David Njoku wants a trade out of Cleveland, but the Browns should try to convince him to stay.
Over the offseason, the Cleveland Brownse signing of former Falcons tight end Austin Hooper seemed like a good move at the time it was made. The addition of Hooper gave Cleveland’s offense another weapon and the thought of him paired with 2017 first rounder David Njoku at the tight end position was quite scary.
It doesn’t appear that will happen for the Browns though, as Njoku and his agent requested a trade per Adam Schefter. The signing of Hooper to the deal that he got seems to be a sticking point.
According to Schefter, the Browns want to keep Njoku and that makes perfect sense. Njoku is still a young and very talented tight end. It’s hard to find that type of great talent at the position and the Browns could have had both him and Hooper, but instead could look to add draft picks instead.
Pairing two massive tight ends together in the same offense has, historically, never been a bad thing.
Cleveland took Njoku 29th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft and once they landed Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick in 2018, it felt like Njoku would be a heavy contributor in the Browns’ hopeful resurgent offense.
Njoku was solid in his first two season, totaling 1,025 and eight touchdowns during that time. Unfortunately, he had a huge setback in 2019 due to injury and appeared in just four games while starting one. He hauled in just five receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. Not exactly the season the Browns were hoping for from their first round pick.
The disappointing 2019 campaign played a hand in Cleveland wanting to add another tight end and they got the best on the free agent market in Hooper, who most definitely becomes the TE1 for the Browns and will be Mayfield’s go-to at the position.
Njoku obviously saw the writing on the wall and knows he can be a starter for another team in the league. The Browns will now will likely grant Njoku his wish and trade him despite wanting him to remain with the team and be the TE2.
Trading Njoku will bring in draft capital for Cleveland, who are looking to turn things around in 2020 after a disappointing 2019 season where they finished under .500 once again. He’s still young enough that teams will be interested in trading for him and while the Browns obviously wanted him to be a part of their future, Hooper is their guy now.