Pump the brakes on the Blake Jarwin hype train, if only for a moment.
It seems multiple suitors have emerged for Njoku, though the alleged asking price is sure to ward off more than a few teams. Per Cabot, the Browns want to retain Njoku and thus “would likely want a first-round pick” to move him — supply and demand.
News of Dallas’ intrigue emerged a few hours after Njoku’s superagent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed to ESPN’s Adam Schefter “it is in David’s best interest to find a new team at this time.”
Interestingly, Cabot’s hearsay regarding the Cowboys as a potential landing spot for the soon-to-be 24-year-old has yet to be corroborated by local media, as of this writing.
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Background on Njoku
Chosen by Cleveland with the No. 29 overall choice of the 2017 draft, Njoku is big-bodied (6-foot-4), rocked-up (246 pounds) pass-catcher with playmaking upside. He’s shown promising flashes, but injuries and inconsistencies have prevented the Miami Hurricanes product from realizing his full NFL potential.
Through three seasons, Njoku has totaled 93 receptions for 1,066 yards (11.5 yards per grab) and nine touchdowns. He logged four scores each in 2017 and 2018 before a broken wrist ruined his 2019 campaign, limiting him to four games and five catches.
He exhibited an on-again, off-again chemistry with quarterback Baker Mayfield, never truly justifying his draft status. While the Browns exercised Njoku’s fifth-year option for 2020, they showed their true colors by signing Austin Hooper to a $42 million free-agent contract, then doubled down by using a fourth-round selection on TE Harrison Bryant.
It quickly became apparent that Njoku’s time in Cleveland was dwindling — the proverbial writing on the wall. Rumors of his departure swirled throughout the entirety of the offseason, with ESPN reporting on a possible trade back in February.
Will Dallas Do a Deal?
The golden rule is to never say never with owner/general manager Jerry Jones, who loves keeping the Cowboys in the headlines. But it’d be surprising if Jones actually pulled the trigger, especially at the cost of a first-rounder. Njoku ain’t exactly Amari Cooper or Jamal Adams, after all.
From a financial standpoint, Dallas could get him for a song. Njoku is on his rookie contract through 2021, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent the following year. He carries a $1.76 million base salary and manageable $3.03 million 2020 salary cap number; those figures balloon to $6.013 million in 2021. Still tolerable.
From a personnel standpoint, they really don’t need him. The Cowboys are legitimately high on breakout candidate Blake Jarwin, whom they cemented as Jason Witten’s permanent replacement in the form of a four-year, $24 million extension, with $9.2 million guaranteed.
Dallas also signed ex-Chiefs TE Blake Bell and added rookie undrafted free agent Sean McKeon to go along with Dalton Schultz and Cole Hikutini. Those are enough healthy bodies to complement an offense that features Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Gallup, and first-round rookie CeeDee Lamb.
Would Njoku further boost the unit? Of course. Does the unit have to be further boosted? Of course not. This would amount to a luxury move, and it’d send a curious message, as the front office works to nail down quarterback Dak Prescott to a long-term, perhaps record-setting pact.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL