David Njoku had Cleveland Browns fans on high alert on Monday after he published a cryptic tweet that appeared to hint at his future with the team.
Njoku put out a tweet with simply two memo emojis, sparking speculation about a trade or extension. Or maybe Njoku was taking notes on certain situations around the league, with some notable players in trade talks.
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) March 1, 2021
Njoku has seemed nostalgic of late, going through and liking tweets from fans talking about what he’s brought to the Browns organization since being selected in the first round of the 2017 draft. He recently responded to one, saying: “Whatever happens I appreciate all the love from all my loyal fans. I’ve kept quiet for a while but I wanted to express that at least for now. I love u guys.”
Whatever happens I appreciate all the love from all my loyal fans. I’ve kept quiet for a while but I wanted to express that at least for now. I love u guys https://t.co/1ZjGfSMGzY
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) February 27, 2021
Njoku also chimed in during a spat on Twitter talking about his situation, noting that “ignorance is bliss.”
Njoku has been the king of cryptic messages on social media of late. A recent post on Instagram read, “The truth will be revealed,” again making some wonder if his time with the Browns was coming to a close.
David Njoku Had Professional Reaction to Lessened Role
Njoku was once a key part of the Browns’ future but found himself buried on the depth chart behind Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant last season. Both Bryant and Hooper were signed last offseason by the new regime — led by general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski — bulking up a position that’s important in Stefanski’s system.
The moves led to Njoku and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to demand a trade before the start of training camp. Nothing ever came of it then or before the trade deadline, forcing Njoku to grow in the role he was given. And to his credit, the former Miami standout did just that, improving his blocking and stepping up in the passing game when called upon.
Njoku missed a trio of games with a knee injury, but still managed to find the field quite a bit in the Browns’ tight-end heavy system, playing just over a third of the snaps. He finished the year catching 19 balls for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Njoku added 5 catches for 66 yards in the postseason.
That’s not to say Njoku was content, however. He shared some thoughts on the Jim Rome Show expressing that he and the Browns were not on the same page.
“We acquired both of them and at first it put me in an interesting position,” Njoku told Rome. “I was confused because the Browns picked up my fifth-year option and they got all of these other tight ends. At the same time, I’ve been hearing that Kevin Stefanski’s offense is very tight-end oriented. So I was optimistic about everything. I was excited to get back to work. With a couple of complications obviously here and there throughout the season, it put me in a predicament where I had nothing to do but just put my head down and work.
“We weren’t really on the same page, the Browns and I,” Njoku added. “We were trying to figure things out, trying to make sure both parties were happy and it was very complicated.”
Browns Have Options With David Njoku
The Browns have been fairly clear with their stance on Njoku, saying they value him as a part of the organization. That’s what led the team to keep him on board, not willing to cave to the trade request if the value was not there.
The Browns decided to pick up Njoku’s fifth-year option last offseason, so he’ll be making just over $6 million next season — much more than he made in his previous four seasons. However, it’s not guaranteed until the first day of the league year on March 17, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com.
That leaves the Browns with a decision — find a trade partner to get something in return for Njoku, keep him on the roster and try to make it work, or simply let him walk before the money is due.