David Njoku

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

David Njoku News

Quiet about future

Njoku had no comment when asked if the Browns are the right team for him, Nate Ulrich of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: When asked that question Friday on the Jim Rome Show, Njoku avoided the topic. "I'm not going to answer that right now," said the tight end. "I have no comment towards that at this moment." Njoku has one year remaining on his contract, but his role was diminished significantly in 2020 after Cleveland added Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant during the offseason prior to the season. That was something he foresaw last July, when he and his agent requested a trade (which was later rescinded). Of the three tight ends, Njoku logged the lowest share of offensive snaps (33.9%), behind Hooper (59.5%) and Bryant (55.6%).

Feb 6, 2021 6:59 AM EST

Active in playoff loss

Njoku caught four of five targets for 59 yards in Sunday's 22-17 playoff loss to the Chiefs.

Analysis: Njoku rarely got this kind of usage during the regular season when Cleveland's top three tight ends were available, so his activity against Kansas City was a surprise. He caught 19 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns over 13 games, well off a breakout 2018 when he had 56-239-4. Njoku has one year remaining on his contract, but he yearns for a bigger role like he had 2018. Austin Hooper is the clear leader at the position, so Njoku will have to accept a similar role in 2021, sharing snaps with Harrison Bryant behind Hooper in an offensive that uses multiple tight ends often.

Jan 17, 2021 7:37 PM EST

Suiting up Sunday

Njoku (hamstring) is listed as active Sunday at Kansas City, Andrew Gribble of the Browns' official site reports.

Analysis: Njoku managed just one limited practice this week (Friday), but it was enough to allow him to play through a hamstring injury. The Browns will roll with Austin Hooper for a majority of the offensive snaps Sunday, with Njoku and rookie fourth-round pick Harrison Bryant the options to take the field in two-TE sets. Njoku put up a measly 19-213-2 line on 29 targets during 13 regular-season appearances.

Jan 17, 2021 10:48 AM EST

Likely to suit up Sunday

Njoku (hamstring), who is listed as questionable for Sunday's divisional-round game against the Chiefs, is expected to play, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Confirmation on Njoku's availability is expected to arrive around 1:35 p.m. ET, when the Browns are slated to release their inactive list 90 minutes in advance of the game's kickoff. The Browns have consistently made use of three tight ends this season, but Njoku and Harrison Bryant both took a back seat to No. 1 option Austin Hooper in the wild-card win over the Steelers. Hooper played 90 percent of the offensive snaps in the victory and tallied seven receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, while Bryant and Njoku combined for one target and played 33 and 31 percent of the snaps, respectively.

Jan 17, 2021 6:47 AM EST

Questionable for Sunday

Njoku (hamstring) is listed as questionable for Sunday's divisional-round playoff game against Kansas City, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Analysis: Njoku, who logged back-to-back DNPs Wednesday and Thursday returned to a limited session Friday, which gives him a chance to suit up this weekend. However, with Austin Hooper clearly the Browns' top pass-catching tight end and Harrison Bryant also in the mix, Njoku isn't a high-percentage fantasy option these days.

Jan 15, 2021 12:11 PM EST

Absent again

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

Analysis: Back-to-back absences suggest the tight end is in some danger of missing Sunday's game at Kansas City. It wouldn't be too big a loss for the Cleveland offense, as Njoku played only 31 percent of snaps in the wild-card win over Pittsburgh, catching one pass for seven yards. Austin Hooper logged 90 percent of snaps and a team-high 11 targets, while rookie Harrison Bryant got 33 percent of snaps and zero targets. Bryant would be the favorite to pick up most of Njoku's vacated snaps.

Jan 14, 2021 8:39 AM EST

Misses Wednesday's practice

Njoku (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegramreports.

Analysis: While the extent and cause of Njoku's hamstring injury is unknown at the time, he was unable to practice on Wednesday. The tight end played in the wild-card win over Pittsburgh, where he caught his lone target for seven yards.

Jan 13, 2021 2:02 PM EST

Reduction in targets Sunday

Njoku caught his lone target for seven yards in Sunday's 48-37 wild-card win over Pittsuburgh.

Analysis: Njoku entered the game with an uptick in usage, having been targeted nine times in Week 16 and 17, but he was of little significance in the game plan Sunday. The return of Harrison Bryant contributed to the drop in targets, as did quarterback Baker Mayfield's continued reliance on primary tight end Austin Hooper, who received 11 looks in the win. Njoku and the Browns head to the AFC divisional round next Sunday to play Kansas City, a defense that ceded the 28th most yards to opposing tight ends (59.6 YPG) during the regular season.

Jan 11, 2021 5:13 AM EST

Season high in targets

Njoku caught two of a season-high five targets for 13 yards in Sunday's 24-22 win over the Steelers.

Analysis: Njoku got extra attention Sunday as Harrison Bryant (reserve/COVID-19) was unavailable for duty. It's rare that Njoku is on par with starter Austin Hooper, who also was targeted five times. Bryant was first deemed a close contact of a person with the virus, but further testing revealed he also contracted it. With Sunday's win, Cleveland extended its season to the Wild Card round next weekend against Pittsburgh. If Bryant's not ready to go by then, Njoku will pick up additional playing time.

Jan 3, 2021 6:18 PM EST

Season high receptions

Njoku caught a season-high four of four targets for 26 yards in Sunday's 23-16 loss to the Jets.

Analysis: Njoku and the rest of the tight ends carried a larger share of the targets with Cleveland's top four wideouts unavailable after being placed on the COVID-19 list. The Jets shut down the Browns' vaunted running attack, forcing quarterback Baker Mayfield to throw a season-high 53 times, including 26 targeted to his tight ends. The wideouts, who are considered close contacts of a teammate that tested positive for the virus, could return in time to practice and get ready for Week 17 against the Steelers.

Dec 28, 2020 3:32 AM EST

One reception Week 15

Njoku caught his lone target for 22 yards during Sunday's win over the Giants.

Analysis: The 24-year-old played 48 percent of the offensive snaps but didn't find much involvement in the passing game. Njoku should continue to split time as Cleveland's secondary tight end with Harrison Bryant with Austin Hooper (neck) now healthy.

Dec 22, 2020 6:59 PM EST

Clear to face Giants

Njoku (knee) is active for Sunday night's game against the Giants, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports.

Analysis: A sudden practice absence Friday placed Njoku's Week 15 status in question, but coach Kevin Stefanski alleviated concerns by subsequently stating that he expected the 24-year-old to play. Having since assured his coach's intuition by clearing the injury report in time for kickoff, Njoku looks to build on a three-catch, 45-yard Week 14 performance against the Ravens. He'll get work at the tight end position alongside Harrison Bryant and Austin Hooper, the latter of which gained clearance to play Sunday evening after being limited during the week with a neck injury.

Dec 20, 2020 4:15 PM EST

Taking questionable tag into Sunday

The Browns list Njoku as questionable for Sunday's game against the Giants due to a knee injury, Zac Jackson of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Njoku didn't appear on either of the Browns' first two Week 15 practice reports, but he was added Friday after the knee issue kept him out of the team session. Fortunately, Njoku isn't believed to be dealing with any significant setback, as head coach Kevin Stefanski said after practice that he expects the 24-year-old to suit up this weekend, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Meanwhile, top tight end Austin Hooper (neck) is also listed as questionable, so Njoku and Harrison Bryant could take on more snaps in the event Hooper is ultimately forced to miss a second straight game.

Dec 18, 2020 11:14 AM EST

Has season-high targets

Njoku caught three of a season-high four targets for 45 yards in Monday's 47-42 loss to Baltimore.

Analysis: Njoku was added to the starting lineup along with Harrison Bryant as Austin Hooper (neck) was inactive. The Browns threw more than usual Monday, and the tight end position combined for 10 targets, the most since Week 7 against Pittsburgh. When all three tight ends are healthy, a typical week has Hooper gobbling up the majority of snaps and targets. His neck injury is not considered serious, so he could return Week 15 against the Giants on Sunday night.

Dec 15, 2020 5:11 AM EST

Targeted once in win

Njoku caught his lone target for five yards in Sunday's 41-35 win over Tennessee.

Analysis: Njoku had just one of three tight end targets Sunday and has been targeted twice over the last four games. His involvement in the offense has taken a hit since Austin Hooper returned from an appendectomy, with Sunday's reception his first since Week 8. The Browns face the Ravens in Week 14, an opponent that ranks 21st in yards allowed to opposing tight ends, but if there's a Cleveland tight to consider next week, it's Hooper.

Dec 7, 2020 2:52 AM EST

Untargeted in win

Njoku played 40 snaps and was not targeted in Sunday's 27-25 win over Jacksonville.

Analysis: Njoku, who has not caught a pass since Week 8, went untargeted for the second time in the last three weeks. He and Harrison Bryant have become afterthoughts, combining for just three targets in the last three games while starter Austin Hooper had nine. The return of Nick Chubb has turned Cleveland into a run-heavy team and squeezed targeting opportunities for Njoku.

Nov 30, 2020 5:51 AM EST

One target in win

Njoku failed to catch his lone target in Sunday's 22-17 win over Philadelphia.

Analysis: Njoku had an uptick in his snap count (34, 51 percent), as he and fellow tight end Harrison Bryant (39, 58 percent) helped cover for the loss of fullback Andy Janovich, but the duo combined for one target. For the past two games, Cleveland has run the ball nearly twice as much as it throws, which shrinks the targets for all receivers. Lead tight end Austin Hooper has seven of the eight tight end targets in those two games. Additionally, quarterback Baker Mayfield has not thrown a touchdown pass since Week 7, so receivers need to build up yards to have any value.

Nov 23, 2020 4:43 AM EST

Untargeted in win

Njoku was not targeted in Sunday's 10-7 win over Houston.

Analysis: Cleveland tight ends were targeted twice on a weather-impacted day on the shores of Lake Erie, both went to lead tight end Austin Hooper. Neither Njoku nor Harrison Bryant were given any looks on a day when the Browns ran twice as much they threw the ball. The Browns' strength is running the ball, something they should continue as the weather gets colder. Njoku has just 13 targets over six games with eight catches, 102 yards and two touchdowns.

Nov 16, 2020 4:34 AM EST

Staying in Cleveland

Njoku, who told the Browns he would like to be traded, remains with the team after the NFL trade deadline passed Tuesday, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Njoku first requested a trade in July before it was rescinded in August, but told Cabot in October he would be open to a change of scenery. The Browns had no intention of trading him, and there were no serious trade talks Tuesday. Instead of becoming a lead tight end with another team, Njoku remains part of the three-man rotation that includes Austin Hooper and Harrison Bryant. Njoku, who has missed three games with a sprained knee, has eight catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns with only one drop.

Nov 4, 2020 4:16 AM EST

One catch in Week 8 loss

Njoku caught one of three targets for 19 yards in Sunday's 16-6 loss to the Raiders.

Analysis: Njoku, like many Browns' receivers, was hindered by the conditions of the day, which featured 35-plus MPH shifting winds that made moving the ball via the air challenging. For the second week in a row without Austin Hooper (appendix), Njoku (29 snaps) finished behind rookie Harrison Bryant (39) in snap count. Njoku has made his desire to be traded clear, but the Browns are reticent to pull the trigger by the Nov. 3 trade deadline, preferring to keep him around as part of team's three-man rotation at tight end. Without a deal, Njoku could drop to third on the depth chart in terms of usage. Hooper is expected to return Week 10 after the Browns' bye this coming week.

Nov 2, 2020 5:14 AM EST

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