Cleveland Browns Player Who Benefits Most No. 2: David Njoku
This is the year that David Njoku will finally be able to put it all together and prove to everyone that he can be a top-tier tight end in the NFL. The Browns used the franchise tag on Njoku with the hopes of signing him to an extension sometime down the road.
Austin Hooper, who signed a massive contract with the Browns two years ago is no longer with the team as he was released, with a post-June 1st designation. It just never worked out with Hooper and the Browns and that’s a shame as he was coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons with the Falcons.
Now, Njoku gets to be the lead dog in the tight end room and with the addition of Watson, he will have an opportunity to really showcase what he is able to do. The former first-round pick back in 2017 has had an up-and-down career thus far.
In his first season, he caught 32 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns. In his second year, he caught 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns. In his third season, he only played in four games due to a broken wrist. In his fourth season, first with Kevin Stefanski, he caught 19 passes for 213 yards and two scores. Last season, he caught 36 passes (4th in targets) for 475 yards (third on the team) and four touchdowns, which led the team.
There was a time when Njoku had asked for his release or to be traded, but the Browns said no. So what did Njoku do? He put his head down, worked his butt off, and bought into both the pass-catching and blocking of the offense.
Despite having Hooper on the roster, you can make the argument that he has been the best tight end on the Browns over the last two seasons. Now, he is being rewarded for how he handled himself and his wanting to stay in Cleveland.