David Njoku Has Strong Words For Browns Fans After Inking New Deal

david njoku

Getty Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku.

The Cleveland Browns are knocking down critical offseason dominoes one by one, most recently signing a key to their revamped offense for years to come in tight end David Njoku.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Friday, May 27, that the Browns locked down Njoku for the next four seasons on one of the richest tight end deals in the NFL.

“The #Browns and franchise tagged TE David Njoku have reached an agreement in principle on a large new 4-year, $56.75M contract extension, sources tell me and @TomPelissero,” Rapoport tweeted. “He gets $28M guaranteed at signing on the deal that averages $14.1875M per year, the fifth highest paid TE.”

Njoku took to Instagram Friday with a personal reaction to the newly-signed agreement, channeling former Cleveland Cavaliers great and Akron native LeBron James in his message to the Browns faithful.

“CLEEVEEEELANDDDD THIS IS FOR YOUUU!!!” posted Njoku, referencing James’ comments immediately following the Cavs’ victory over the Golden State Warriors in the 2015-16 NBA Finals. “Truly blessed through it all! Thank you to the Browns organization and the Haslam Family. Thankful for all my teammates past and present. Thankful for the DAWG POUND for the craaazy energy. Thank you @malkikawa and the FRM boys. None of this would’ve been possible without all of you. I appreciate all the love. May God take all the glory!!!!”

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Njoku Among Elite NFL Tight Ends in Terms of Annual Salary

David Njoku

Getty ImagesCleveland Browns tight end David Njoku signed a four-year contract extension on Friday, May 27, making him one of the five highest-paid tight ends in the NFL.

Njoku certainly had reason both to celebrate and to be thankful, as he joined the ranks of the NFL’s elite tight ends in terms of average annual salary.

The Browns employed the use of the franchise tag to stop Njoku from becoming an unrestricted free agent, which saved Cleveland the headache of having to bid against other teams after what has already been an expensive offseason. The tag would have kept Njoku with the Browns through 2022 at a price just shy of $11 million.

That number, while impressive, proved dissatisfactory to the tight end who turned down a deal that would have paid him more than $13 million annually prior to being tagged, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Njoku’s holdout was successful in the end, as NFL insider Jordan Schultz highlighted on Twitter Friday.

“David Njoku — who’s only 25 — joins Mark Andrews, George Kittle, Travis Kelce and Dallas Goedert as the only TEs to earn at least $14 million per season,” Schultz wrote. “#Browns and Njoku had made progress over the past week, as GM Andrew Berry knew he needed to get this done. Nice work.”

Kittle (San Francisco 49ers) earns $15 million per season, Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs) earns $14.3 million annually, Goedert (Philadelphia Eagles) pulls down $14.25 million and Andrews (Baltimore Ravens) makes $14 million each year, per NFL News. Njoku slots in with an average annual salary of $14.1 million.

NFL Insider Expects Njoku’s Production to Skyrocket in 2022

Trevor Williams Chargers

Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesTight end David Njoku of the Cleveland Browns makes a touchdown catch against Trevor Williams of the Los Angeles Chargers on October 14, 2018.

Njoku’s hefty asking price and the ultimate total of his deal have left the tight end open to some criticism, and not all of it is unfair.

Over the course of his five-year NFL career, Njoku has amassed just 148 catches for 1,754 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference. It should be noted that he appeared in just four games in 2019, starting only one, due to injury. However, the overall totals are far from elite.

Part of the problem for Njoku was that he spent the last two seasons playing behind Austin Hooper, a former two-time Pro Bowl selection with the Atlanta Falcons, who joined the Browns in 2020 on a big-money deal. Hooper never panned out and Cleveland cut him this offseason, prioritizing Njoku instead.

NFL insider Warren Sharp of NBC Sports and The Ringer took to Twitter to explain why the Browns made a good deal signing Njoku at the amount they did, despite what the traditional counting statistics indicate.

“David Njoku’s 2021 ranks among TEs: #2 in EPA/att (0.44); #2 in YAC/catch (6.9); #4 in yds/catch (13.2); #16 in catch % (68%). All were career highs,” Sharp wrote. “Volume wasn’t there, efficiency was. Hooper + Njoku last year was more $ than Njoku’s new $/yr. Watson will use him a ton.”

The Watson to whom Sharp was referring is Deshaun Watson, the Browns new quarterback who is under contract in Cleveland for the next five seasons. Watson, a three-time Pro Bowl player, is an upgrade over Baker Mayfield. Beyond that, with Hooper out of the picture, Njoku’s targets should skyrocket from the 53 he saw in 2021.

The combination of more looks from a more talented quarterback could spell a tremendous amount of success for Njoku, which may boost his traditional counting statistics high enough that he ultimately ranks alongside the likes of of Kelce, Kittle and the rest of the top tight ends in the NFL.

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