Did David Njoku’s Recent Decision Fuel His Demand for a Browns Trade?

Getty Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku.

The Cleveland Browns received a trade demand from David Njoku on Friday, which felt like a bit of deja vu going back to last season.

The team faced a similar situation last offseason, when running back Duke Johnson Jr. wanted out following the Browns’ acquisition of former rushing leader Kareem Hunt. Johnson, who spent his first four seasons with the Browns, saw himself falling into obscurity in the backfield behind both Hunt and starter Nick Chubb, which likely would have been the case.

Despite his trade request, Johnson was a fan-favorite in Cleveland. He played through some tough times in the orange and brown, including an 0-16 campaign in 2017 that was historic for all the wrong reasons.

What made the situations similar was that Johnson fired his agent Kristin Campbell and hired Drew Rosenhaus. Shortly after, Johnson was on his way to Houston.

Njoku followed the same strategy. He fired his agent Malki Kawa of First Round Management just two days ago and hired Rosenhaus, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com.

Kawa represents mostly MMA fighters, but also has NFLers Darius Leonard, Chris Herndon and Chandler Jones as clients, to name a few. Chad Thomas, Montrel Meander, Alex Taylor, Kermaine Grace and Jordan Elliott are other Browns players Kawa represents. Elliott was the Browns third-round pick this year and recently signed his deal.

Browns Would Like to Keep Njoku

The news of Njoku’s trade request was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter with a statement from Rosenhaus, saying his client wants out of Cleveland before training camp on July 28.

“Browns TE David Njoku and his agent Drew Rosenhaus asked today for the team to trade him,” Schefter reported. “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.

Rosenhaus told Schefter: “It is in David’s best interest to find a new team at this time.”

Njoku’s future with the team came into focus this offseason when the Browns signed Austin Hooper to a massive free agent deal and drafted Harrison Bryant in the fourth round. However, the Browns brass has been complimentary of Njoku and expressed that he has a role going forward in head coach Kevin Stefanski’s TE heavy offense.

“I have been pretty consistent this offseason in terms of we still have a ton of belief in David,‘’ Browns GM Andrew Berry said following this year’s draft. “He’s very talented.

“Obviously, he was not on the field much last year, but he’s a guy with outstanding physical tools, he has proven NFL production and we still think the future is very bright with him here. David has always been and continues to be in our plans, and we’re going to continue to add competition all across the roster.”

Njoku is under contract for two more years, with the Browns picking up his fifth-year option this offseason.

David Njoku Lacks Leverage With Browns

Njoku has shown off the potential that made him a first-round pick in 2017 at times. In his second season, the former Miami standout notched 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns, looking to be on his way up.

However, Njoku struggled last year and quickly fell into the doghouse of the former coaching staff led by Freddie Kitchens. Njoku rarely played down the stretch after working hard to return to the lineup in Week 14 following a broke wrist. He finished the year with just five catches for 41 yards and one touchdown last season.

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