In spite of the fact that Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku, a former first-round draft pick heading into his fourth season, has formally requested a trade that the team appears to have no interest in granting, he recently took to Twitter to make one thing clear: it’s all about business.
“I want to make something very clear”, he wrote on Twitter earlier this week, “I love the city of Cleveland with all my heart. This game is filled with a lot of complications but don’t think for a second that I don’t love and appreciate Cleveland and all that it has done for me”.
I want to make something very clear. I love the city of Cleveland with all my heart. This game is filled with a lot of complications but don’t think for a second that I don’t love and appreciate Cleveland and all that it has done for me💯
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) July 20, 2020
2019 was supposed to be the young tight end’s breakout season, but instead he broke his wrist, which ultimately limited him to part-time action in four games. He caught just five passes all season for 41 yards, though one of them resulted in a touchdown.
In 2018, during Baker Mayfield’s rookie season, Njoku put up numbers rather similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Vance McDonald that year, numbers that had many in Pittsburgh sensing a breakout season coming: 56 receptions for 639 yards and four touchdowns.
According to reports, however, the tight end’s desire to be traded may have little to do with the fact that the Browns signed Austin Hooper in free agency, and also used a third-round pick to address the position earlier this offseason. He is said to have been interested in being traded for over a year.
It’s unclear what sorts of ‘complications’ he might be referring to. With regards to the signing of Hooper, new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was known for heavily employing two-tight end sets during his time as offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings.
Cleveland did pick up his fifth-year option earlier this offseason, though it is only guaranteed for injury until the start of the 2021 new league year (fifth-year options become fully guaranteed upon its being exercised beginning with the 2018 NFL Draft class, so for the Steelers, that would affect Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds).
The team has made it pretty clear that they very much see Njoku being a part of their offense this season and a part of the team for the foreseeable future. It would not be the first time that a player sought a trade only to have his differences with the organization resolved.
They did, however, relent to a trade request last year when they moved tight end Duke Johnson, and he has the same agent as Njoku—Drew Rosenhaus. He has been known to make things happen, as we saw with Antonio Brown last year.