Cleveland Browns Trading First Round Draft Pick
The Cleveland Browns are trading first round draft pick David Njoku at some point in the near future, if they can.
Njoku, 23, was taken 29th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, things have not gone great for the ultra-talented tight end as of late.
Despite expectations being high for his future, Njoku spent most of the past season dealing with a fractured wrist.
That wrist injury ultimately landed him in the injured reserve list.
Upon returning, Njoku clashed with former head coach Freddie Kitchens.
When he finally did get back into the lineup, Njoku ended up dropping the ball and causing an interception. That resulted in him being a healthy scratch for the next two weeks.
Njoku eventually suited up for Cleveland’s last two outings of the year, only to end up playing just four snaps.
When it was all said and done, Njoku recorded a mere five receptions for 41 yards and a score last year.
That serves in stark contrast to the 639 yards and four scores on 56 receptions that he put up in his second year as a pro.
This past week, ESPN published a piece on players who could use a fresh start in 2020.
Njoku found himself on that list, for obvious reasons.
As noted by Jake Trotter, Njoku would really benefit from being traded somewhere else next season.
“While Njoku would have a fresh start under a new coach and front office, it’s clear he was also losing the trust of QB Baker Mayfield,” he wrote.
“That’s why the 2017 first-round selection might be better off attempting to resuscitate his career elsewhere — especially if the Browns can get something that can help them in return.”
The big problem for Njoku is that is hard to see Cleveland getting what it deems to be fair value for him in a trade. The team is not willing to give him away for peanuts, says new team general manager Andrew Berry.
“We still have a lot of confidence in David,” Berry said recently.
“Obviously last year didn’t go according to plan. He feels that way and we feel that way.
“Obviously he was hurt for a significant stretch. We still have a lot of faith there.
“We think he’s a very talented player. I look forward to seeing Kevin (Stefanski), (tight ends coach) Drew Petzing work with him to ultimately get him to his ceiling.”
Njoku, for what it is worth, also seems interested in staying with the Browns.
“I’m going to leave this past season where it is, in the past. And go from there,” said Njoku.
“What happened yesterday happened and we have to move on from there.
“The No. 1 thing is controlling the controllable. What do I need to do to become a better football player? That is exactly what I’m going to do,” he continued.
“I’m going to work my [expletive] off and focus on what I need to do to better my game in every aspect.”
If the Browns ultimately get a fair offer for Njoku, something that justifies the first round pick they spent on him, it is hard to envision the new regime saying no to it.
But given the fact that Cleveland is probably not going to get an offer like that any time soon, it is probably a safe bet that Njoku is going to be sticking around for a while.
Whether that will be a good or bad thing for the Browns remains to be seen in the new year.