If they trade David Njoku, O.J. Howard would be an option
One of the big storylines this offseason for the Browns has been tight end David Njoku requesting a trade through his new agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Cleveland just went through this in 2019 with running back Duke Johnson, who was eventually traded to the Houston Texans.
This time, it seems as though the Browns are far less inclined to give up their young player and fans are hopeful that he does stay. The reason for this is the way new head coach, Kevin Stefanski, relies on two tight end sets.
He did so with the Minnesota Vikiungs last season with Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith, Jr. working very well together. That gave Cleveland fans the chills when thinking about Njoku being the No. 2 tight end opposite Austin Hooper, who they signed in the offseason.
As long as Njoku is on the roster, the Browns are likely to use him opposite Hooper while sprinkling in rookie Harrison Bryant. However, should he end up being moved they could look to add another talented player at the position in O.J. Howard of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Formerly a first-round pick out of Alabama, Howard finds himself in a strange spot in 2020. He’s been used a lot in double tight end formations in Tampa, and they have utilized him and Cameron Brate very well. Then when the Bucs added Tom Brady, there was even more hype for Howard and Brate considering the way Brady can get his tight ends involved in the game. But then all that changed when Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement and was traded from New England to Tampa Bay.
Gronkowski was one of Brady’s favorite targets for years and the familiarity the two have with one another is going to make him the top player at the position. It could also make Brate or Howard expendable — and Howard is the one who would likely get them more in return.
For Cleveland, it would give them someone who is a capable blocker that also has 12 touchdowns in his three NFL seasons. Howard, who was the only tight end picked ahead of Njoku in the 2017 NFL Draft, would also be on the books for at least two more seasons.