Njoku revealed on Twitter that he has reported for training camp, despite his trade request. He responded to a tweet inquiring whether he would be in Browns camp, which saw players report on Tuesday.
“I’m here dog,” Njoku wrote.
I’m here dog https://t.co/W9iEmB2vAR
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) July 28, 2020
Through his agent Drew Rosenhaus, Njoku demanded a ticket out of town from Cleveland in early July, with Rosenhaus telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter: “It is in David’s best interest to find a new team at this time.” Njoku wanted a new team by the time training camp rolled around, which wasn’t the case. All Browns players were contractually obligated to arrive by July 28, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal.
It should be noted that former Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr. followed a similar strategy last year after demanding a trade. Like Njoku, he ditched his agent for Rosenhaus, reported to camp, and was soon dealt to the Houston Texans.
While there has been much speculation about where Njoku could land, there hasn’t been any substance to the rumors. That makes sense, considering the Browns have been fairly adamant that they don’t want to deal Njoku.
Browns Still Believe in David Njoku
The Browns are expected to run a tight-end heavy system under Kevin Stefanski, and Njoku’s skill set would be an intriguing one for the coaching staff to work with.
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 from his rookie year, collecting 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns.
However, Njoku stumbled last season with a broken wrist and a bad relationship with the coaching staff. He had just five catches for 41 yards and one touchdown in Year 3 and was a healthy scratch down the stretch. The team recently executed Njoku’s fifth-year option, meaning he’s under contract for at least two more seasons.
“We still have a ton of belief in David,” Berry said of Njoku earlier this offseason. “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.”
Browns Beefed Up TE Position This Offseason
With Stefanski having a linking for tight ends, the Browns bulked up the position this offseason, with big-money free agent Austin Hooper and rookie Harrison Bryant. Stephen Carlson and Pharaoh Brown are also on the depth chart at tight end.
In just 13 games played last season with Atlanta, Hooper set career highs last season with 75 receptions, 787 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Bryant played his college ball at Florida Atlantic and is 6-foot-5 and 243 pounds. He got progressively better each season with the Owls, culminating with a season season where he collected 65 catches, 1,007 yards and seven touchdowns.
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).