Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku sparked trade speculation when he fired off a pair of cryptic tweets on Monday night.
The tweets were vague, but considering his recent history in Cleveland, the trade speculation was well warranted.
“Damn,” Njoku wrote in a one-word tweet.
He followed it up with another, more reflective post.
“We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experiences,” he tweeted
David Njoku Requested Trade Last Offseason
Njoku — a former first-round pick of the Browns in 2017 — requested a trade last offseason when it became apparent he’d have to battle for reps, sitting behind both Austin Hooper and rookie Harrison Bryant on the depth chart.
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. He routinely played over 50 percent of the snaps, finishing the year catching 19 balls for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Njoku added 5 catches for 66 yards in the postseason. It was far from a career-year, but he showed enough promise for the team to feel good about his prospects going forward.
The team said as much when Njoku wanted out, saying they saw him as part of the future in Cleveland.
“We have been very consistent that we think David can be a big part of where we’re trying to go as a team this year and that we think he has an important role to play for this roster and for this team,” Browns GM Andrew Berry said at the start of the year, admitting he was caught off guard by the situation. “We’re looking forward to working with David. I think he can have a fantastic year.”
The Browns backed up that statement by giving Njoku a role in the offense and choosing to pick up his fifth-year option.
Browns Have Lots of Decisions to Make in Offseason
The Browns have a bevy of offensive pieces in place for next season but need to make some improvements on the defensive side of the ball, even with some injured players returning next season.
The Browns have also had a full year to see what they can get out of Bryant, who they picked in the fourth round in last year’s draft. He caught 24 balls for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Njoku is an athletic freak and a more than capable pass-catcher. He’s also improved his blocking out of necessity and could be a nice piece for a team looking to improve their tight end position via trade. The Browns would welcome that for a player that could contribute on the defensive side of the ball.
Berry admitted that the team has invested on offense and hinted that they could be looking to do some of that on defense this offseason.
“I think it is a fair observation to realize that the resources this past year that we had going into this past fall were predominantly oriented to support the offense and support the quarterback, but that does not mean that we did not make some investments all across the team,” he told reporters. “Understand that obviously, we think we can certainly boost the defense as we go into 2021. It is probably too early to make any declarative or definitive statements, but certainly understand the strengths and weaknesses of the team.”
The Browns gave up 358.4 yards per game in the regular season, but that rocketed to 495.5 per game in the postseason.