David Njoku

Cleveland Browns
Tight End #85
Cleveland Browns
Tight End #85

David Njoku News

Puts in full practice

Njoku (knee/rest) was a full participant at Thursday's practice, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: Njoku sat out the Browns' first Week 5 practice session a day earlier, but the fact that he had a "rest" designation attached to his name along with the knee injury suggested his status for Sunday's game against the Chargers was never in much question. His return to practice as a full participant verifies that, and Njoku should remain one of Jacoby Brissett's favorite targets this weekend. Over the past two games, Njoku has drawn 17 looks and has turned them into 14 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Oct 6, 2022 1:15 PM EST

Back at practice

Njoku (knee/rest) returned to practice Thursday, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Analysis: It remains to be seen if Njoku -- who sat out Wednesday's session -- will be listed as a limited or full participant by the Browns, but the tight end's return to practice Thursday presumably puts him on track to suit up Sunday against the Chargers.

Oct 6, 2022 11:05 AM EST

Resting sore knee

Njoku was held out of Wednesday's practice, with the Browns designating his injury as "knee/rest", Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: The addition of 'rest', rather than just labelling it a knee injury, comes as a comfort to fantasy managers who need Njoku in a lineup for his Week 5 matchup with the Chargers -- a team he roasted for a career-high 149 receiving yards last year (also in Week 5). It was one of his few productive receiving outings of this year, but Njoku now is averaging 4.5 catches for 50.3 yards per game in a three-down role through the first four weeks of 2022. He'll likely return to practice later this week and suit up Sunday afternoon.

Oct 5, 2022 1:33 PM EST

Team-high 73 yards

Njoku (knee) had five receptions (seven targets) for 73 yards while rushing once for a loss of six yards and losing a fumble in Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Falcons.

Analysis: Njoku saw another high-usage game after last week's career game (nine receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown). The veteran tight end had couple of negative plays in the form of a fumble on his first reception of the game, in addition to a negative play on a peculiar rushing attempt. After a slow start -- and a brief knee injury scare during practice this week -- Njoku is looking like an appealing option heading into a favorable matchup against the Chargers next Sunday.

Oct 2, 2022 5:12 PM EST

All systems go for Week 4

Njoku (knee) doesn't carry an injury designation into Sunday's game against Atlanta after practicing fully Friday, Mark Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports.

Analysis: Njoku sat out Thursday's practice, but his return Friday and lack of injury designation confirm that his absence Thursday was just for maintenance purposes. The tight end appears to have established himself as Cleveland's No. 2 option in the passing game behind Amari Cooper, and Njoku will look to put forth a second consecutive strong performance Sunday after racking up 89 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Steelers.

Sep 30, 2022 11:49 AM EST

Sits out practice

Njoku (knee) didn't practice Thursday, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Cabot previously suggested that Njoku's absence was rest-related, a notion that would be confirmed by his return to practice in any capacity Friday. The tight end is coming off a strong Week 3 effort in which caught nine of his 10 targets for 89 yards and a TD in the Browns' win over the Steelers last Thursday.

Sep 29, 2022 2:23 PM EST

New career high in receptions

Njoku corralled nine of 10 targets for 89 yards and a touchdown in the Browns' 29-17 win over the Steelers on Thursday night.

Analysis: The veteran set a new career high in receptions after previously counting a pair of seven-catch tallies as his personal best in that category. Njoku consistently got open against Steelers linebackers, and his seven-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter snapped a 7-7 tie while serving his first trip to the end zone since Week 17 of last season, also versus Pittsburgh. Njoku's target tally was also his highest since back-to-back 11-target games back in Baker Mayfield's rookie 2018 campaign, sending the talented tight end into a Week 4 road matchup versus the Falcons a week from Sunday with plenty of momentum.

Sep 22, 2022 8:50 PM EST

More activity Week 2

Njoku caught three of five targets for 32 yards in Sunday's 31-30 loss to the Jets in Week 2.

Analysis: After a quiet opening week, in which he was targeted once, Njoku was back on top of the tight end room with his five targets. He was on the field for 94% of the snaps (63 of 67 snaps), a greater share than he had in Week 1. This is still an offense dominated by its running backs, but quarterback Jacoby Brissett looked downfield more in Week 2, averaging 8.5 yards per attempt, up from 4.3 against the Panthers last week.

Sep 19, 2022 5:31 AM EST

Quiet opener

Njoku caught his lone target for seven yards in Sunday's 26-24 win over the Panthers in Week 1. He had one other target/catch, but it was nullified by a penalty.

Analysis: Njoku took over the top tight end job after the Browns let Austin Hooper walk during the offseason, and expectations were set when he signed four-year, $55 million contract last May. He played a skill-position high of 71 snaps, but the target-to-snap ratio didn't match the expectations. Fellow tight end Harrison Bryant caught two of four targets for 18 yards and played 38 snaps. As was expected with Jacoby Brissett instead of Deshaun Watson at quarterback, the Browns ran more (39 attempts) than passed (34), and eleven of Brissett's attempts were on the final two drives. Until that point, the offense was about Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. It may be difficult relying on any one Cleveland receiver until Watson returns.

Sep 12, 2022 4:31 AM EST

Three catches in preseason finale

Njoku caught three receptions for 34 yards on four targets in Cleveland's preseason game against Chicago on Saturday.

Analysis: Njoku won't have Deshaun Watson for most of the season but still should be in position to break out as a fantasy option in his sixth NFL season in 2022. Still just 26 years old, Njoku's substantial athletic gifts give him a chance to post standout numbers after a relatively quiet start to his NFL career.

Aug 27, 2022 9:28 PM EST

Stays on sidelines Sunday

Njoku suited up but did not play in Sunday's preseason game against the Eagles.

Analysis: Neither Njoku nor top backup Harrison Bryant stepped on the field Sunday, as the Browns rested many of their regulars. It's unclear how head coach Kevin Stefanski plans to use his personnel in the third preseason game against the Bears next Saturday.

Aug 21, 2022 4:39 PM EST

Catches lone target

Njoku caught his lone target for seven yards in Friday's 24-13 win over the Jaguars in Preseason Week 1.

Analysis: Njoku had the distinction of catching Deshaun Watson's first completion in an NFL game since 2020. He and the rest of the starting offense were limited to a few series before taking the rest of the night off.

Aug 13, 2022 6:40 AM EST

Preparing for full-time duty

Njoku is set to take on a larger role and be a feature of the passing game in 2022, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports. "We certainly want to feature (Njoku)," Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "(He has) great size, great length in terms of catching the football and being able to go up and pluck contested catches. I think there is an evolution that will continue for David the player."

Analysis: Njoku was a part-time player in four of his five seasons, but he will become the lead tight end after the Browns let Austin Hooper go. He played 47 percent of the snaps in 2020 then 64 percent last season; that count should head north of 80 percent in 2022. Stefanski feels the 26-year-old Njoku has evolved into a complete tight end, and the Browns rewarded him with a four-year contract earlier in the offseason. He's been featured in the red zone during Stefanski's watch -- all the tight ends were -- and has been used on quick throws, where he can use his athleticism after the catch. That was the case with a 71-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass in Week 5, when Njoku caught seven passes for 149 yards. Unfortunately, the tight end never had more than 39 yards in a game the rest of the season, a glimpse into the inconsistency that's dogged him.

Jul 12, 2022 7:34 PM EST

Agrees to four-year extension

The Browns and Njoku agreed on a four-year, $56.75 million contract extension Friday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: The Browns franchise tagged Njoku earlier in the offseason, but the tight end will now get a massive new extension. Per Rapoport, he'll get $28 million guaranteed and will earn $14.19 million per year, making Njoku the fifth highest-paid tight end in the NFL. The 2017 first-round pick posted 475 yards and four touchdowns last season -- his highest marks since his sophomore campaign.

May 27, 2022 1:45 PM EST

Skipping voluntary OTAs

Njoku is abstaining from OTAs while he and the Browns continue to discuss a potential extension, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Cleveland and Njoku are closing in on a deal, per Cabot. Both sides have until July 15 to come to terms on a long-term contract, and the team already applied the franchise tag to the tight end back in March. Playing on the franchise tag would set Njoku up for a $10.8 million salary in 2022, while Cabot notes that the terms being discussed for an extension could average over $13 million per season. With Austin Hooper out of the picture for the Browns, Njoku appears destined for the No. 1 tight end role, putting him in legitimate position for a breakout campaign.

May 25, 2022 7:49 AM EST

Extension talks active

Njoku and the Browns are engaged in active talks on a contract extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Cleveland has already applied the franchise tag to Njoku, giving both sides until July 15 to agree to terms on a multi-year deal. If a long-term agreement can't be reached, Njoku will play out the 2022 campaign on a $10.8 million salary. With Austin Hooper no longer on the roster, and Deshaun Watson now atop the Browns' quarterback depth chart, Njoku could be facing a legitimate breakout opportunity. Cleveland stands to add more pass-catchers as the offseason continues, potentially in April's draft, but the 2017 first-rounder will still have a clear path to a notable role on offense.

Apr 1, 2022 6:34 AM EST

Franchise tag applied

The Browns have officially placed their franchise tag on Njoku.

Analysis: Per ESPN's Jake Trotter, the Browns now have until July 15 to work out a long-term contract with Njoku, otherwise he'll be slated to play on a franchise tender that guarantees him $10.8 million in 2022, NFL.com reports. Meanwhile, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport indicates that Njoku's agent has been in long-term negotiations toward an extension with Cleveland. The team also has fellow tight ends Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant under contract this coming season, an arrangement that caps Njoku's fantasy ceiling when all three players are available. In 16 games in 2021, the 2017 first-rounder parlayed his 53 targets into a 36/475/4 stat line.

Mar 7, 2022 10:04 AM EST

Being tagged by Browns

The Browns will use the franchise tag on Njoku, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Cleveland stands to make the transaction official before Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. Njoku is thus on track to remain with the Browns for the 2022 campaign while carrying just under an $11 million salary, which gives both sides more time to negotiate on a potential long-term deal. The 25-year-old tight end now has five seasons of NFL experience under his belt, and though he hasn't yet emerged as a consistent, high-end starter, Njoku did make improvements in 2021. Through 16 appearances last season, Njoku secured 36 of 53 targets for 475 yards and four touchdowns.

Mar 7, 2022 9:11 AM EST

Finishes with two grabs in win

Njoku caught both of his targets for 11 yards in Sunday's 21-16 win over the Bengals.

Analysis: Njoku was questionable due to a shoulder injury but managed to get on the field and post his best seasonal output since 2018. The fifth-year tight end caught 36 of 53 targets for 475 yards and led all receivers with four touchdowns. After some drama the previous two seasons, including trade requests and being out-snapped by rookie Harrison Bryant in 2020, Njoku fell into line in 2021 and was a model contributor, per Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal. Since Sunday's win, Njoku expressed his desire to stay in Cleveland, per Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal. He becomes an unrestricted free agent, but it sounds like both sides would like to commit to another contract. Austin Hooper and Bryant are still around, but coach Kevin Stefanski uses tight ends as more than just blockers, and Njoku was the best receiver of the bunch.

Jan 10, 2022 3:31 PM EST

Suits up Sunday

Njoku (shoulder) is listed as active for Sunday's game against the Bengals.

Analysis: Njoku headed into the contest listed as questionable after returning to a limited practice Friday, but he'll look to close the season on a positive note on the heels of logging a 4/28/1 stat line in Week 17. Assuming no issues with his shoulder, Njoku should see his share of targets Sunday, but he remains a hit-or-miss fantasy option with Austin Hooper also in the mix for a share of Cleveland's tight end targets.

Jan 9, 2022 8:43 AM EST

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