David Njoku

Cleveland Browns
Tight End #85
Cleveland Browns
Tight End #85
Photo: Icon Sportswire

David Njoku News

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

Questionable for Sunday

Njoku (shoulder) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bengals, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: With the Browns eliminated from playoff contention, it remains to be seen if Njoku will be activated for Sunday's 1:00 ET kickoff. If he's out or limited this weekend, Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant would be in line to head the team's tight end corps in Week 18.

Jan 7, 2022 10:34 AM EST

Absent once again

Njoku (shoulder) was a non-participant at Thursday's practice session, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: Njoku hauled in all four of his targets for 28 yards and a touchdown in Monday's loss to the Steelers, but he's been held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. He'll likely need to return in some capacity Friday if he hopes to play Sunday against the Bengals.

Jan 6, 2022 1:13 PM EST

No practice Wednesday

Njoku (shoulder) is listed as a non-participant on Wednesday's injury report, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: Njoku will have two more chances to log practice activity ahead of Sunday's season finale against the Bengals, a game which quarterback Baker Mayfield (shoulder) has already been ruled out for. Harrison Bryant would stand to benefit from increased snaps if Njoku were to miss Week 18.

Jan 5, 2022 8:03 AM EST

Touchdown in defeat

Njoku caught all four of his targets for 28 yards and a touchdown in Monday night's 26-14 loss to the Steelers.

Analysis: Njoku hauled in all the passes his way on a night quarterback Baker Mayfield at one point misfired on 10 consecutive throws. The tight end's performance was highlighted by his three-yard, contested touchdown grab to end the third quarter, Cleveland's first score of the game. After posting a goose egg in the Browns' Christmas Day loss to the Packers, Njoku rebounded nicely Monday and will try to finish strong versus the Bengals in Week 18.

Jan 3, 2022 9:55 PM EST

Two targets in Week 16 loss

Njoku did not catch either of two targets in Week 16's 24-22 loss to the Packers on Saturday.

Analysis: Njoku's two targets came on Cleveland's final drive that ended in quarterback Baker Mayfield's fourth interception of the day. He was unable to hold on to one of the targets and was wide open on the other, but Mayfield badly missed him. With Austin Hooper back in the fold after missing Week 15 on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Njoku's involvement decreased.

Dec 27, 2021 6:46 AM EST

Cleared for Week 16

Njoku (knee) doesn't have an injury designation for Saturday's game in Green Bay, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: A mid-week addition to the Browns' injury report, Njoku's reps were capped Wednesday and Thursday, but his knee issue evidently wasn't concerning enough for Cleveland to give him a questionable tag heading into the weekend. After playing 100 percent of the offensive snaps in Cleveland's 16-14 loss to Las Vegas on Monday, Njoku should see a downturn in opportunities with top tight end Austin Hooper (illness) having been restored from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Cleveland has still made liberal use of two-tight end sets when Hooper has been available, so expect Njoku to be on the field for at least half of the Browns' plays.

Dec 23, 2021 2:14 PM EST

Limited participant with knee issue

Njoku (knee) is listed as limited on Wednesday's practice estimate, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: The seemingly minor knee injury is likely less relevant than Austin Hooper's return from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Njoku played every snap on offense in Monday's 16-14 loss to the Raiders, but he'll likely be back in a part-time role this Saturday in Green Bay.

Dec 22, 2021 1:49 PM EST

Three catches in Week 15

Njoku caught three of five targets for 29 yards in Monday's 16-14 loss to the Raiders.

Analysis: Njoku finished second on the team in receiving yards behind Donovan Peoples-Jones, but more was expected out of Njoku with fellow tight end Austin Hooper (illness) on the reserve/COVID-19 list. It was actually third-string tight end Harrison Bryant (ankle) who caught the only touchdown pass thrown by Browns quarterback Nick Mullens, giving Cleveland a short-lived 14-13 lead with his six-yard score in the fourth quarter. Cleveland will hope to get more of its regular starts, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, back from COVID-19 protocols by the time the team travels to Green Bay in Week 16.

Dec 20, 2021 5:48 PM EST

Set for No. 1 TE role Monday

Njoku is in line to serve as Cleveland's top tight end for Monday's game against Las Vegas after Austin Hooper (illness) wasn't reinstated from the reserve/COVID-19 list, Anthony Poisal of the Browns' official site reports.

Analysis: After missing Cleveland's Week 14 win over Baltimore while he resided on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Njoku was restored to the roster Thursday, two days after Hooper tested positive for the virus Tuesday. Even with the NFL pushing the Browns' Week 15 game an extra two days, Hooper wasn't able to clear the necessary protocols, which should leave Njoku in store for one of his larger snap shares and target counts of the season. Cleveland could have No. 3 tight end Harrison Bryant (ankle) available Monday, but expect Njoku to see the bulk of the work at the position as the healthier option. Njoku will be working with third-string quarterback Nick Mullens, who will pick up the start with both Baker Mayfield (illness) and Case Keenum (illness) still stuck on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Dec 20, 2021 11:19 AM EST

Browns-Raiders moved to Monday

Njoku and the Browns will no longer play the Raiders on Saturday, after the NFL officially rescheduled the matchup between the two teams for Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

Analysis: Due to ongoing COVID-19-related issues within the Cleveland organization, the NFL is hopeful that by delaying the game two days, the Browns will restore enough players from the reserve/COVID-19 list to alleviate depth concerns on the roster. Top tight end Austin Hooper is one of 24 Cleveland players and 12 starters who has been placed on the list over the past week, and after testing positive for the virus Tuesday, he's not a lock to be available Week 15. If Hooper is held out, Njoku would have a clear path to the starting role, and quite likely, a fair amount of volume in the passing game.

Dec 17, 2021 4:16 PM EST

Resumes practicing

Njoku, who had been on the reserve/COVID-19 list, returned to practice Thursday, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Njoku's return to the mix is a welcome one, with fellow tight end Austin Hooper among the numerous Cleveland players on the list in advance of Saturday's game against the Raiders and Harrison Bryant managing an ankle injury. With that in mind, Njoku figures to see a key role in the Browns' Week 15 passing game.

Dec 16, 2021 10:26 AM EST

Won't play this week

Coach Kevin Stefanski relayed Friday that Njoku, who is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, won't play Sunday against the Ravens, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: With Njoku unavailable and Harrison Bryant (ankle) having been ruled out this week, Austin Hooper, who's coming off a zero-catch (on three targets) effort in Week 12, figures to be busy versus Baltimore. In that context, Hooper is a bounce-back candidate in Week 14 and merits fantasy lineup consideration as a streaming tight end option.

Dec 10, 2021 9:59 AM EST

Feels nothing

Njoku (COVID-19) tweeted twice this week that he is not experiencing symptoms.

Analysis: Njoku availability for Sunday's game against Baltimore hangs in the balance. "I am hopeful, but we have to plan if we do not have him," head coach Kevin Stefanski told Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal about Njoku. "If we have him, that would be great." If Njoku is fully vaccinated, he could play if he has two negative tests separated by 24 hours and is activated by 4:00 PM Saturday.

Dec 9, 2021 6:47 AM EST

Moves to reserve/COVID-19 list

The Browns plan to place Njoku on the reserve/COVID-19 later Tuesday, and his availability for Sunday's game against the Ravens is in question, Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Cleveland hasn't revealed whether Njoku has tested positive following its Week 13 bye, or if he will be placed on the list as a close contact of an infected person. The reason behind his placement on the list -- as well as his vaccination status -- will be determining factors in whether he'll have a realistic shot at playing this weekend. Before the Browns went on bye, Njoku drew at least four targets in each of the team's last three games, cobbling together a 6-66-1 receiving line over that span.

Dec 7, 2021 10:05 AM EST

Scores third TD

Njoku caught three of five targets for 35 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 16-10 loss to Baltimore.

Analysis: Njoku was the lone position player to hit pay dirt in an awful offensive showing from the Browns' offense. The veteran tight end continues to see regular usage alongside Austin Hooper (zero receptions) as Cleveland deploys plenty of two tight end sets. Njoku has shown occasional offensive spurts this year, but the shared usage with Hooper limits both player's fantasy values. The Browns will enter the bye week before taking on the Ravens again in Week 14.

Nov 28, 2021 11:39 PM EST

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