The Cleveland Browns cannot catch a break
Fourth-year tight end David Njoku looked to be in the best shape of his life and made the most of his 17 snaps played on Sunday. On the day, he caught three passes for 50 yards, including perhaps the highlight of the day as he leapt a Baltimore defensive back down the field, and the only touchdown for the Cleveland Browns yesterday.
Today, however, the former first-round pick received some bad news after exiting the game late in the fourth quarter. With a sprained MCL, Njoku has now been placed on Injured Reserve, and under the new rules for 2020, this means he must now miss at least three weeks.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Njoku has a timeline for just those three weeks and is expected back Week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Where will Cleveland Browns turn with Njoku down?
While Njoku outplayed rookie and fourth-round tight end Harrison Bryant, he was listed behind the Florida Atlantic product and was out-snapped as well. While Bryant had a relatively quiet day, tallying just one catch for five yards on two targets, he will have to step up in a big way early on in his career.
Big-name free-agent addition Austin Hooper is far more likely to see more than just the two targets he saw on Sunday as well with the absence of Njoku. Look now for fourth-string tight end Stephen Carlson to get additional snaps as well as he will likely fill the void left by Njoku.
On the verge of proving all those doubters wrong, Njoku looked poised for a big year. As he looks to get healthy as soon as possible, the hope is that his season is not derailed by this injury as his 2019 season was when he broke his wrist Week 2.