The Cleveland Browns, and their fanbase, are excited for all the new players added to their roster this offseason. The team added a ton of defensive talent as well Anthony Schwartz’s speed to the offense.
Returning players, either from injury or COVID-19 opt-out, should also bring a spark to the team.
One player whose presence rarely gets discussed is tight end David Njoku. After last year, when he requested a trade and seemed discontented with his place on the team, a quiet offseason is a nice change.
Last year, the Browns started using Njoku more and more as the season went on after picking up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. In Week 1, Njoku was only on the field for 17 snaps (23%) but by Week 17 he was on the field for 49 snaps (79%).
While Njoku is set to be a free agent when the season ends, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that he and the team are on the same page and moved on from last year’s demand:
For the Browns, Njoku is their most athletic tight end in a system that values having two, or more, tight ends on the field as often as possible. While Austin Hooper was the big money addition last offseason, Njoku has a chance to stick around even longer if he has a good season in 2021.
The trade request last season was unlikely to be granted given the limited return the team could have received and the value they place on tight ends. This year, Njoku has a chance to set himself up for free agency on a winning team with a good offense and good quarterback.
Starting out “in a good place with the franchise” is the best way for both the team and player to achieve their goals in 2021.