Pro Bowl Free Agent TE Would ‘Love’ to Play for Browns

Getty Images Free agent tight end Kyle Rudolph.

Kyle Rudolph is a free agent and the two-time Pro Bowl tight end would “love” to reunite with one of his former coaches in Kevin Stefanski, the reigning Coach of the Year with the Cleveland Browns.

Rudolph was released this week after a decade with the Minnesota Vikings in a cap-saving move. With a desire to keep playing, Rudolph is interested in Cleveland to work with Stefanski again, per Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com.

Stefanski held many roles during his 14-year tenure with the Vikings, including tight ends coach during the 2014-15 season. Rudolph’s best season came in 2016 when he caught 83 balls for 840 yards and seven touchdowns.

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Kyle Rudolph Could be Solution to David Njoku Drama

Kyle Rudolph

GettyKyle Rudolph to the Browns?

Rudolph would be a great addition to the Browns offense, although it’d be hard to fit him into the current roster situation in Cleveland.

That being said, the possibility of adding Rudolph could help solve one of the Browns’ other problems — former first-round pick David Njoku, who has hinted about wanting to find a new home this offseason after demanding a trade a year ago.

“That’s a good question,” Njoku said on the Jim Rome Show when asked about returning to the Browns. “I’m not going to answer that right now. I have no comment towards that at this moment. I’m just going to enjoy my family, my friends, and my loved ones. I have a couple of projects happening in the near future, so I’m just focused on the right now and I’ll let everything handle itself in the near future.”

Stefanski was asked about Njoku while speaking to the media on Tuesday and said he was unaware of his tight end not being “all in.”

“David is somebody who I respect and value, the production he gave us on the field and the teammate he is,” Stefanski told reporters. “As it relates to him in particular, I am not aware of that. I know I have had a lot of conversations with a lot of players over the course of the season and over the course of many seasons so I will continue to have that dialogue with all of our guys to see where they are, but I am not aware of anything in particular with David.”


Amicable Split Between Kyle Rudolph, Vikings

Kyle Rudolph Vikings

GettyVikings tight end Kyle Rudolph was released on Monday after 10 years with the team.

The split between Rudolph and the Vikings was an amicable one, with the tight end thanking the team for taking a chance on him.

“I got so lucky, because — I didn’t just get drafted by some team who ‘had a need at tight end,'” Rudolph wrote in a Players’ Tribune piece saying goodbye. “I didn’t just get drafted as, like, the nameless, faceless ‘#1 tight end on the board.’ I got drafted by a team that was all set in terms of need … but then drafted me anyway.

“I’ll always remember that: how the Minnesota Vikings wanted me — and wanted to bet on my potential.”

Rudolph feels he has plenty left in the tank, despite his stats dwindling over the last two years. He caught just 67 balls in the last two seasons combined after catching 64 in 2018 alone.

Rudolph was firm about wanting a larger role in the offense this offseason and wasn’t willing to take a pay cut. Rudolph agreed on a four-year, $36 million extension in 2019.

“I think I’m worth every dime of my contract,” Rudolph said on Unrestricted with Ben Leber earlier this year. “That doesn’t mean that I’m used to my potential and I’m used to do what I do well, so it will be interesting over the next few months. Like I said, I have three years left on my contract. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I’ve somehow become a pretty decent blocker because I’ve been forced to. It certainly wasn’t something that I ever did well at any point of my career. Maybe in high school because I was bigger than everyone else, but even then, I just wanted to run around and catch balls.”

Seeing as how often the Browns play multiple tight ends and his familiarity with Stefanski, Rudolph would be well-used in Cleveland, even if he ends up behind Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant on the depth chart.

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