David Njoku headed to social media on Saturday to share his first message since demanding a trade from the Cleveland Browns.
The former first-round pick of the Browns appeared on a boat holding a football in a shot posted to his Instagram with the caption: “Only God knows but I don’t blame you for having a different perspective”
The post drew some responses from his current and former Browns teammates, including Rashard Higgins, who wrote: “My brudda until the 6.”
David Njoku Wants Quick Ticket Out of Cleveland
It’s hard to now what Njoku is referring to with the message, although it’s likely related to his trade demand situation seeing that he’s been the top topic of conversation over the last few days.
“Browns TE David Njoku and his agent Drew Rosenhaus asked today for the team to trade him,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Friday. “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.”
With training camp set to start at the end of the month, it would be a quick turnaround if the Browns are planning to satisfy Njoku’s demands. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Multiple sources have reported that the Browns do not want to deal Njoku at this time and see him as a valuable part of the roster. General manager Andrew Berry said as much following the draft and proved a man of his word, executing Njoku’s fifth-year option.
“We still have a ton of belief in David,” Berry said. “He’s a guy with outstanding physical tools. We still think the future’s very bright for him. We see David as part of our long-term plans.”
David Njoku Quote on Competition Coming Back to Haunt Him
Njoku is no longer the top dog at tight end in Cleveland. That honor goes to Austin Hooper, who to Browns inked to a four-year deal worth $44 million, with $23 million guaranteed. The Browns also drafted John Mackey award winning TE Harrison Bryant out of FAU in the fourth round to bolster their depth.
Stefanski runs a tight end heavy offensive system, so even with Njoku sliding into the second spot on the depth chart behind Hooper, he’d likely see plenty of playing time. Last season when Stefanski called the plays in Minnesota, he used multiple tight ends a league-high 57 percent of the time (h/t ESPN’s Jake Trotter).
After the signing of Hooper was announced, Njoku said he would embrace the competition, which doesn’t seem to be the case now in light of his demand.
“I love competition,” Njoku wrote on Twitter in a now deleted tweet, responding to a message speculating that he would want a trade more than ever. “We’ll push each other and get better together.”