While the Cleveland Browns looked to begin righting the ship somewhat in their Monday Night Football victory over a quarterback-less New York Jets team, they didn’t escape that contest unscathed. Third-year tight end David Njoku exited with a wrist injury, and it was revealed yesterday that the wrist is, in fact, broken.
The 2017 first-round draft pick is currently seeking medical opinions with regards to whether or not surgery is necessary in order to repair the damage, but whether or not that is the case, he is still expected to miss over a month as a result.
Last season, the Miami product caught 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns. That is roughly comparable production to what Vance McDonald produced for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season—in fact, slightly more, with a handful more catches and an extra pile of yards, with the same number of scores.
While it’s not a devastating blow for an offense that includes Baker Mayfield at quarterback, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry at wide receiver, and Nick Chubb at running back, it certainly doesn’t make the group better. Njoku provides a big-bodied receiving threat that they otherwise lack. And their tight end depth chart is otherwise undistinguished and unimpressive.
Njoku exited Monday’s game in the first half. In the season opener, he caught four passes for 37 yards and one touchdown. In 34 games since being drafted, he has caught 92 passes for 1062 yards and nine touchdowns, also averaging 11.5 yards per reception.
And many believed that he would be primed for a breakout year in 2019, entering his third season and with Mayfield now having gotten a year’s worth of work under his belt, not to mention a full offseason preparing as a starter, with an overall better supporting cast around him.
The Jets didn’t put up much of a fight, at least offensively, without Sam Darnold under center, as they scored a whopping three points—the same amount mustered by the Steelers against the New England Patriots in Foxboro in the season opener.
They opened that game with Trevor Siemian, a failed starter, at quarter, and he left the game with an ankle injury himself, replaced by Luke Falk. Things didn’t exactly get much better from there. At halftime, New York actually had a deficit in passing yardage, which is somewhat remarkable in and of itself (that includes yardage lost from sacks, mind you).