Trade Talk Surrounding Browns’ Former First-Round Pick Heats Up

Getty Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield completes a pass to tight end David Njoku.

Last season didn’t go as planned for Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku, who spent much of the year nursing a fractured wrist that landed him on the IR.

When Njoku finally returned to the field, he found himself in the doghouse with former Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens, who was fired shortly after the season. 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.

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.

VideoVideo related to trade talk surrounding browns’ former first-round pick heats up2020-02-15T17:31:55-05:00

He had just five catches for 41 yards and a touchdown last season and left much to be desired with his blocking in the run game.

ESPN recently published a feature on “32 NFL players who could use a fresh start this offseason.” Beat reporter Jake Trotter listed Njoku as the option for the Browns.

“He fell out of favor under the previous regime, as he was a regular healthy scratch down the stretch after returning from IR after a wrist injury. Had coach Freddie Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey been retained, Njoku almost certainly would have been out the door. Still, while Njoku would have a fresh start under a new coach and front office, it’s clear he was also losing the trust of QB Baker Mayfield. That’s why the 2017 first-round selection might be better off attempting to resuscitate his career elsewhere — especially if the Browns can get something that can help them in return.”

Browns Still Believe in David Njoku

Andrew Berry on Cleveland Browns DailyBrowns EVP and GM Andrew Berry joins Cleveland Browns Daily following his introductory press conference on Feb. 5, 2020.2020-02-06T15:11:28.000Z

A new regime is in place in Cleveland with Kevin Stefanski taking over the head coaching spot and Andrew Berry coming in as executive vice president of football operations and general manager. But Berry is not new to the organization, previously spending time with the franchise as the Vice President of Player Personnel when Njoku was drafted.

While Berry certainly made no promises, it sounds like the team is willing to give Njoku another shot to prove himself, especially considering he has one year left on his rookie deal plus a team option for a fifth season.

“We still have a lot of confidence in David,” Berry told Cleveland Browns Daily. “Obviously last year didn’t go according to plan. He feels that way and we feel that way. Obviously he was hurt for a significant stretch. We still have a lot of faith there. We think he’s a very talented player. I look forward to seeing Kevin (Stefanski), (tight ends coach) Drew Petzing work with him to ultimately get him to his ceiling.”

David Njoku Wants to Stay in Cleveland

GettyCleveland Browns tight end David Njoku

Following the turbulent season, Njoku said he loves it in Cleveland and is hoping to move past what happened. That being said, he has made it clear that he does not know exactly what his future holds with the Browns.

“I’m going to leave this past season where it is, in the past. And go from there,” Njoku told Mary Kay Cabot of “What happened yesterday happened and we have to move on from there.

“The No. 1 thing is controlling the controllable. What do I need to do to become a better football player? That is exactly what I’m going to do,” he added. “I’m going to work my [expletive] off and focus on what I need to do to better my game in every aspect.”

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