David Njoku continues to look unmotivated
The Browns drafted tight end David Njoku with the 29th pick of the 2017 NFL draft. Fans have known from the beginning that Njoku was a glorified wide receiver in a tight end’s body, but after two strong seasons in his first two years, it appears his time in Cleveland may be ticking away.
In his rookie campaign, Njoku had 32 receptions, 386 yards, and 4 touchdowns. In year two he made a big jump with 56 receptions, 639 yards, and 4 additional touchdowns. Then in 2019 (year three), when everyone expected Njoku to jump off the charts, he was hit with an injury that would sideline him for most of the season.
Not only was Njoku frustrated by the injury, then the Browns signed pro-bowl tight end Austin Hooper this offseason to make things worse for him. Don’t get me wrong, the Stefanski system is built for two tight ends (even if Njoku struggles to block), but you must have some sympathy as to why he could have been irritated.
The tipping point of the difficult situation was when his agent Drew Rosenhaus (who hates the Browns for whatever reason) stated that Njoku would like to be traded. Njoku had zero leverage in the situation with two seasons left on his contract and the organization was quick to shut down those possibilities. After a major injury in 2019, the Browns would have been in a position to take a major loss on a trade.
Since then, Njoku has changed his tune saying he is committed to the Browns. However, through the first few days of camp, he has had multiple drops on wide-open routes. This is the cheating boyfriend scenario — he may say he’s sorry, but can you ever forgive him for what he said? If the struggles continue and the Browns can get any value in return, Njoku’s days in Cleveland could be numbered.