Could the NY Jets actually be in play for Cleveland Browns’ tight end David Njoku?
The NY Jets may not have a ton of depth at most offensive positions, but one area that seems pretty secure going into the 2020 season is tight end. But does that mean that they’re out of the running for Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku?
Njoku has spent the last three years with the Browns and it wasn’t long ago that he looked like one of the best young tight ends in football. But one year later and he reportedly wants out.
It was reported on Friday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Njoku had officially requested a trade, a move that the Browns have reportedly seen coming for at least a year now.
And Njoku’s decision was clearly solidified this offseason following the team’s decision to sign former Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper to a four-year, $44 million contract and their selection of FAU’s Harrison Bryant in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
New head coach Kevin Stefanski is well-known for his love of tight ends and the former Minnesota Vikings play-caller indicated that he plans to utilize all three in 2020. But Njoku clearly wants no part of that.
The Browns don’t seem to be in any hurry to trade him either. After all, Njoku isn’t set to be a free agent until the 2022 season after the team picked up his fifth-year option. But it is worth pointing out that his option is only guaranteed in case of injury.
More from The Jet Press
- NY Jets should try to sign Kenny Golladay in free agency
- NY Jets: Jonnu Smith would be a smart free-agent target
- NY Jets: 3 non-quarterback trade targets on offense
- NY Jets expected to be ‘much more aggressive’ in free agency this year
- NY Jets: Patriots will not use the franchise tag on Joe Thuney
Theoretically, he could be a free agent after this upcoming season if the Browns wanted to take that route.
Multiple teams are reportedly interested in the former Miami star, but could the Jets be one of those teams?
Should the NY Jets seriously consider trading for David Njoku?
On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be room in the Jets’ offense for Njoku. Chris Herndon is set to return in 2020 and he’ll be joined by surprise 2019 standout Ryan Griffin who performed admirably in Herndon’s absence.
But it’s important to remember that the Jets need playmakers at any position on offense. Njoku is athletic enough to split out wide as a receiver and the use of three tight ends could help mitigate the team’s apparent weakness at wide receiver.
Adam Gase could (hopefully) find use for a player as talented as Njoku. So even though the fit isn’t obvious, the Jets could certainly benefit from adding a player like Njoku.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they should make a serious run at him.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that teams expect Njoku’s value to be around a fourth or a fifth-round pick, which seems reasonable given the promise he once showed. Of course, there are also the injury concerns that forced him to miss all but four games last season.
Would the Jets really be willing to part with a mid-round pick to secure a player who would essentially be a depth tight end? It’s unlikely.
Plus there’s the fact that Njoku wants out of Cleveland because he doesn’t want to be part of a three-tight-end rotation. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation he’d find himself in with the Jets — and he’d be paired with a coach who’s far less known for his usage of tight ends.
The Jets hardly seem like an ideal landing spot for the former first-round pick.
Still, it would be a nice homecoming for the New Jersey native to be teamed up with his former college teammate at Miami in Herndon.
But while it might seem like an interesting move on paper, this isn’t a trade that’s very likely to happen.