3 contract decisions that will pay off for Cleveland Browns

  • A big-time 2023 free agent pickup
  • A 2022 trade and restructure
  • Keeping Za'Darius Smith around for the long-term

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
3 of 3

3. Extending TE David Njoku

For the last three or four years, it feels like tight end David Njoku has been the subject of a wide variety of trade rumors. To put it lightly.

Remember when Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant were going to push Njoku off the roster? Good times.

The Browns held on to Njoku, even amidst some significant trade rumors and even requests. The Browns got a long-term deal done with Njoku in 2022, signing him to a four-year deal worth $54.75 in total money. He responded in 2022 by having one of his best years as a pro, catching 58 passes for 628 yards and four touchdowns. The 58 receptions are a career-high for Njoku.


Anytime you're changing coaches or general managers, you almost just expect sweeping changes on the roster and that often includes maximizing the value of draft picks by the previous regime, trading guys away to the highest bidder because they weren't your pick. One of the best decisions the Browns have made contract-wise is extending Njoku, and that stemmed from keeping an open mind about his involvement with the team.

They didn't just assume Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant would take that position over forever. They also didn't sell low on Njoku while he was on a rookie contract. They kept him, they put him on the field, and they ultimately paid him top of the market value. It's just good business in today's NFL where players are often getting the shaft.

Next. Top 10 greatest Cleveland Browns players of all-time. Top 10 greatest Cleveland Browns players of all-time. dark