David Njoku was retained via the franchise tag but the Cleveland Browns are wisely working with him to try and agree on a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline
It wasn’t too long ago when the Cleveland Browns and David Njoku seemed destined for a split. The former first-round pick had lost faith in his role with the team following the signing of Austin Hooper and the drafting of Harrison Bryant in 2020.
Njoku originally requested a trade before that season but eventually rescinded his demand. A conversation with head coach Kevin Stefanski apparently convinced him to stick around and now heading into 2022, he’s going to be the No. 1 guy after he was hit with the franchise tag and Hooper was released.
While he is on the tag, Njoku and the front office are in talks on a long-term deal which they have until July 15th to negotiate.
There’s still no guarantee a contract extension will be struck but the fact that the Browns are working on a deal is a positive sign.
David Njoku has grown into a huge weapon for Cleveland Browns
Njoku entered the NFL in 2017 as an athletic freak with major upside as a pass-catcher. He was eventually called out by former general manager John Dorsey for the fact that he hadn’t developed as much as a blocker as he did in the passing game.
Instead of being angered by this, Njoku put in the work and wound up being the best blocker of the three tight ends on the roster in 2021.
That development is a huge reason why Stefanski and current GM Andrew Berry are comfortable enough to not only pay him more than $10 million on the franchise tag, but also give him a multi-year deal with an average per year in the same range.