Browns Tight End on Trade Block Heading Into Contract Year

Harrison Bryant

Getty Harrison Bryant of the Cleveland Browns.

Harrison Bryant could be on the move as he heads into a contract year with the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns drafted Bryant in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, adding him to a tight end room that included Austin Hooper and David Njoku at the time. Bryant initially jumped Njoku on the depth chart and churned out a solid rookie season, catching 24 passes for 238 yards and three touchdowns.

Bryant caught 31 passes for 239 yards and 12 touchdowns last season but only found the end zone once. He played on 48 percent of the offensive snaps, a number that was helped by Njoku missing three games. That could drop next season even more with the acquisition of Jordan Akins, who was a former target of Deshaun Watson in Houston.

The Browns have needed three solid tight ends on the roster in Kevin Stefanski’s offense, with the team relying on multiple tight end sets heavily. However, that could be changing, with the Browns building out their wide receiver corps to give Watson more weapons to work with for his second season in Cleveland.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated believes the Browns will be shopping Bryant ahead of the season.

“Browns TE Harrison Bryant’s name was raised, and I know the Browns would at least look to other teams on him, with David Njoku entrenched and the 2020 fourth-rounder headed into a contract year,” Breer wrote.

Browns See Jordan Akins as ‘Impact’ Player

Akins was a good get for the Browns in free agency. The big pass-catcher is coming off a career year in Houston, recording 495 receiving yards and a team-leading five touchdowns. He also has some familiarity with Watson, which is a nice bonus but not something that drove the Browns’ interest.

“I know perhaps that was something that after the fact maybe people assumed that we made the signing just because of that,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said in March. “Jordan, we actually thought, was an impact receiver for Houston this past year. We thought he fit really nicely into the F-roll in our offense and could really be a playmaking weapon for us. That actually had nothing to do with Deshaun’s input or anything along those lines.”

Watson sees the same playmaking ability in Akins and acknowledged that the tight end position will be a strength for the Browns.

“Akins, he’s a playmaker. He’s a guy who has played a lot of ball, made some big plays down in Houston when I was there and even last year,” Watson said on April 18. “Having this addition to an already stout tight end group, with Chief (David Njoku), Harrison and Zaire (Mitchell-Paden). That’s a a great room to be around and a great opportunity for them to be able to take their room and that position to a whole other level in this offense.”

David Njoku Coming Off Career Year in Cleveland

Browns TE Harrison Bryant

GettyHarrison Bryant of the Cleveland Browns celebrates scoring a touchdown with teammate David Njoku.

Njoku sits atop the depth chart and is coming off his best season as a pro, despite missing a trio of games due to injury. He caught 58 passes for 628 yards and four touchdowns. It was a nice showing from Njoku, who was fresh off inking a four-year, $56.75 million extension with Cleveland to be their long-term option at the position.

Njoku was always an athletic specimen but he’s taken his game to new heights in recent seasons, focusing on becoming a well-rounded tight end that can also be valued in the run game. He has high hopes for his partnership with Watson, saying he could see them getting to the level of Kansas City Chiefs stars Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.

“First off, those two are legendary, you know what I mean?” Njoku said. “All the kudos to them, Patrick and Trav and, yeah, I feel like we can definitely do things similar to that as well. It’s only a matter of time, so I’m very excited.”

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