The Njoku saga was a strange one. Last month, he and his agent pushed the Browns for a trade before the start of camp. The organization did not appear to make much of an effort to accommodate that request, and we didn’t hear much else about it aside from the odd tweet from Njoku.
Njoku played in only four games for Cleveland last season, catching just five passes in an injury-hit season. The Browns spent big money to bring in Austin Hooper to play the same position this offseason, but it’s been said they still have a big role in mind for Njoku.
David Njoku said through his agent earlier this month that he wants the Browns to trade him, but the tight end seemingly wants the people of Cleveland to know it is nothing personal.
On Monday, Njoku sent a tweet expressing his appreciation for Browns fans and the city of Cleveland. The tweet seemed to be in direct relation to the trade rumors surrounding the former first-round pick.
I want to make something very clear. I love the city of Cleveland with all my heart. This game is filled with a lot of complications but don’t think for a second that I don’t love and appreciate Cleveland and all that it has done for me
Njoku’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said on July 3 that the Browns have been informed Njoku wants a trade. No reason for the demand was given, but there has been speculation that Njoku is worried about his role in the offense with the Browns having signed veteran tight end Austin Hooper this offseason. They also have two stud wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and a star running back in Nick Chubb, so perhaps Njoku feels there are not enough balls to go around.
Though he was limited to just four games because of injuries last season, the Browns reportedly want Njoku to remain with the team in 2020. The 24-year-old caught 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 and will be viewed as a breakout candidate again entering this season. You can understand why Cleveland would want to keep him around.
The Cleveland Browns and David Njoku appear headed for a standoff over the tight end’s future with the team.
Njoku has requested a trade from Cleveland, but the Browns still view him as a big part of their offense and believe he can be successful despite the team’s signing of Austin Hooper at the same position, according to NFL reporter Josina Anderson.
My understanding is TE David Njoku remains a big part of the #Browns plans, going back to the winter & the transition in the organization. The belief is Njoku can have a great year still for this team. But I'm also told by a source that Njoku, "been wanted out." Bears monitoring.
David Njoku wants out of Cleveland, but one prominent and somewhat tight end-needy team may not be too interested in swinging a move for him.
The 23-year-old requested for a trade from the Browns this week, and some rumors had linked him to the Dallas Cowboys. Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher reported on Friday however that Dallas team sources were pushing back on that suggestion.
But the Dallas Cowboys having expressed interest as a “potential suitor” for the 23-year-old Njoku? That much, according to two CowboysSI.com sources inside The Star, is fiction.
“That,” one source told us as the Friday news broke, “sounds like an agent creation.”
Added a second source: “Nope. No interest.”
Njoku, a Drew Rosenhaus client, was limited to just four games for the Browns in 2019 due to injury. While he is under contract for the next two seasons, Njoku may have been looking at a further reduced role in Cleveland, especially after the signing of fellow tight end Austin Hooper this offseason.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, saw Jason Witten sign with the Las Vegas Raiders in March, and their current tight end duo of Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz is largely underwhelming in the passing game. Still, the team could be looking to make a trade upgrade on the other side of the ball instead of chasing Njoku.
The Cleveland Browns have a problem on their hands less than a month before the start of training camp.
As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Browns tight end David Njoku has asked for a trade. The Browns are trying to keep him, but Njoku is adamant about being traded before the start of camp.
1/2 Browns’ TE David Njoku and his agent Drew Rosenhaus asked today for the team to trade him. The Browns told Njoku they would like to keep him, but Rosenhaus told them he’s intent on a trade. They want a trade before training camp.
It’s not clear what motivated Njoku’s trade request, but it may be a fear of a lack of reps. The Browns signed Austin Hooper as a free agent, and he is likely to get the majority of targets in the passing game.
Njoku was limited by injuries in 2019, playing in just four games. Before that, he had appeared to be a player on the rise, catching 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. He’s still only 23 as well, and has plenty of room to grow.
The Browns will have a tough time handling this one, and it remains to be seen what they do — or how hard Njoku and his camp are willing to agitate for a move.
The Browns are getting one of Baker Mayfield’s favorite targets from his rookie season back this week, as tight end David Njoku is expected to be activated from injured reserve and play against the Bengals. While he will almost certainly give Cleveland’s offense a boost, should Njoku be trusted in fantasy football lineups?
With Week 14 being the start of the playoffs for most fantasy leagues, many fantasy owners remain desperate for tight end help in what has been a down year at the position. Cincinnati’s defense is nothing special, so Njoku will have a chance to find the end zone on Sunday. He’s probably worth starting in deep leagues or leagues that start two tight ends, but it would not be a surprise if he is on a strict snap count after being out since Week 2 with a wrist injury.
In Week 15, however, Njoku couldn’t ask for a better matchup than when the Browns take on the Cardinals. Arizona has not been able to cover tight ends all season, and they are giving up by far the most fantasy points to the position. Last week, Rams tight end Tyler Higbee (who?) lit them up for seven catches, 107 yards and a touchdown. Other smash performances against Arizona include Austin Hooper’s eight catches for 116 yards and a touchdown and Greg Olsen’s six receptions for 75 yards and two scores.
You get the picture.
If you’re desperate, there are worse options than Njoku this week. He’s was one of Mayfield’s favorite targets in the red zone last season, and the Browns have been terrible in that part of the field in 2019. If you start Njoku against the Bengals, you’re hoping for a touchdown. Assuming he gets through the game without any setbacks, he could turn into one of the biggest steals of the season in Week 15.
It may be hard to believe, but training camps are just around the corner, and that means meaningful football isn’t far off. It also means that previously injured players, under-performers and sophomores have another opportunity to prove they belong in the hard-hitting NFL.
Here’s a look at 32 players — one from each team — who are ready to make the leap entering the 2018 season.
Arizona Cardinals – Budda Baker, S
With the departure of Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals have an obvious void to fill in their secondary. Enter second-year safety Budda Baker, who is expected to take on a much larger defensive role for Steve Wilks. In an aggressive system (Wilks blitzed on 44 percent of the defensive snaps in Carolina), Baker should find himself in a position to excel as a sophomore and potentially even improve upon his already impressive 84.5 Pro Football Focus grade from a season ago.
Every year, we see NFL players across the league come into their own despite not having much of a track record. They can be all types; many are second- or third-year players who have matured and overcome injury or adapted to the NFL. There are others who were never highly-touted but find themselves in the right situation.
Each NFL team has breakout candidates. Here is a leading candidate from all of them.
Arizona Cardinals — Haason Reddick, LB
The 13th overall pick in last year’s draft flashed potential and appeared in all 16 games, but only started three of them. He still made an impact, with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on the season. The Cardinals plan to move him to inside linebacker, where he’s been studying tape of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. That bodes well for a big year two breakout.
Atlanta Falcons — Austin Hooper, TE
Year three could be the one that sees Hooper mature into a big target at tight end. His numbers improved last season, as he caught 49 passes and scored three touchdowns. A more prominent role and regular playing time could await him in 2018 and make him a Matt Ryan favorite. He’ll just have to compete with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Atlanta’s talented running backs for touches.
Thomas has some sympathy for what NFL rookies are put through, so he’ll probably be content to let Njoku take some heat from teammates and the general public on Twitter for his gaffe. He may need some time to live that one down.