After a week of bad news regarding their star tight end, the Cleveland Browns officially put David Njoku on injured reserve Friday evening.
Njoku was concussed during the Browns’ Monday Night Football matchup with the Jets early in the game, but it was later revealed that he broke his wrist on the same play. The team was looking at its options, but it eventually became clear sending the former first-round pick to the IR was the right move.
Njoku reacted to the news on Twitter, saying: “I know my homies will handle up. Live by the sword die by the sword. I’ll be back.”
Njoku will be eligible to return Nov. 24th against the Dolphins, but that is contingent on if he makes a recovery in time to make it back on the field this season. The Browns might have dogged a bullet on that front, with Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said that there will be no surgery for Njoku.
That make it more likely that Njoku could join the team down the stretch as they look to break a 16-season playoff drought.
The Browns picked up Juston Burris on waivers from Oakland following the move or Njoku to IR. All eyes now shift to linebacker Christian Kirksey, who is dealing with a chest injury and could be next to land on the list.
Browns Will Miss David Njoku in Passing Game
Njoku, a former first round pick of the Browns, is a physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 246 pounds with 4.6 40-yard dash speed. He was taken in the first round of the 2017 by the Browns.
Demetrius Harris played the most snaps after the injury, while Pharaoh Brown and Ricky Seals-Jones saw increased playing time.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens spoke on the importance of Njoku to the offense on Wednesday before the broken wrist was reported.
“David is a good player so definitely him being limited right now or whatever presents problems for us,” Kitchens said. ‘This game in the National Football League is about attrition so you have to deal with it on your side and other teams do, as well. We will get the next guy in there and make sure he knows what to do. When somebody goes down, that is another opportunity for someone else so we will see how it goes.”
Last year, Njoku essentially doubled his production in the passing game from his rookie season, collecting 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns. He caught four balls for 18 yards and one touchdown in the Browns opener against the Titans.
Njoku was off to a slow start with just four catches for 37 yards and one touchdown. That being said, he’s one of the NFL’s best pass-catching tight ends and will be missed.
Ricky Seals-Jones an Intriguing Fantasy Option
In the absence on Njoku, Seals-Jones becomes an interesting tight end target in fantasy. The Browns claimed Seals-Jones off waivers after roster cuts.
Similar to Njoku, Seals-Jones is an athletic pass-catching tight end and probably has the highest upside in the respect on the roster. Last season he started five games for the Cardinals, collecting 343 yards and a touchdown. In his two seasons, Seals-Jones has 544 totals receiving yards and four touchdowns.
The move reunites Seals-Jones with Freddie Kitchens, who coached previously in Arizona before coming to the Browns. He did not catch a pass after Njoku went down against the Jets.