The Cleveland Browns have a decision to make regarding former first-round pick David Njoku, but all signs point to the team picking up the fifth-year option on their tight end and having him be a key part of the offense going forward.
While Browns general manager Andrew Berry opted not to say outright that the team plans to hang on to Njoku, both he and head coach Kevin Stefanski were complimentary of the pass-catching tight end.
“We have some good players who are already on the roster,” Berry said, per cleveland.com. “Obviously, David Njoku. David didn’t quite have the year that he anticipated this past fall, but we still view David as a talented pass catcher and a guy that we expect to take a step forward in this upcoming year.”
The Browns have to make decisions on fifth-year options for both Njoku and Myles Garrett before the May 3 deadline.
“I wouldn’t disclose any of those kind of business decisions in this setting,” Berry said from the combine. “But it’s safe to say we view both those guys as very, very talented members of our roster and we look forward to seeing what they’re going to do over the next few years.”
David Njoku Hoping for Bounce Back Season With Browns
Njoku is coming off a season that was defined by his absence on the field. The former University of Miami standout had wrist surgery following a bad fall in Week 2 against the Jets and when he finally returned to the field, he found himself in the doghouse with former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens.
He battled back into the lineup in Week 14, but dropped a ball that turned into an interception, leading him to be a healthy scratch the next two weeks. He suited up for the Browns final game of the season, but played just four snaps.
“I’m looking forward to working with him,” Stefanski told reporters. “There’s an obvious skillset there. There’s a reason he was drafted that high (No. 29 overall). I think you can see it just in his physical ability and it’s a big year for David. I’ve explained that to him.
“He knows that and a lot of that is going to be up to him and the amount of work he puts into this and we have big plans for him but it’s about, for him, coming back in the building and working and then ultimately being able to see if we can utilize him in a role that can take advantage of some of his skillset.”
David Njoku Tweets: ‘Keep all the Receipts’
Around the same time the quotes came out on Njoku from Berry and Stefanski, Njoku fired off an interesting tweet that read: “Keep all the receipts!! Love it.”
With both Berry and Stefanski hinting at a future for Njoku in Cleveland, the tight end could very well have been talking about that as the “receipt” in question.
Njoku — the 29th overall pick in the 2017 draft — is a physical specimen at 6-foot-4, 246 pounds with 4.6 40-yard dash speed. In his second season, Njoku essentially doubled his production in the passing game from his rookie season, collecting 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns.
With injuries slowing down his production last year, Njoku totaled had just five catches for 41 yards and a touchdown last season, leaving much to be desired with his blocking in the run game.