Browns use franchise tag on David Njoku

NFL: JAN 09 Bengals at Browns
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A recent report indicted that the Browns would do whatever was necessary to keep tight end David Njoku from leaving the team as a free agent and they’re using the biggest tool at their disposal to ensure he stays off the open market.

According to multiple reports, the Browns have franchise tagged Njoku. The move sets Njoku up to make over $10.9 million for the 2022 season and would leave the door open for the two sides to talk about a longer deal until July 15.

Njoku was the 29th pick of the 2017 draft and is coming off a season that saw him catch 36 passes for 475 yards and four touchdowns in 16 appearances. He has 148 catches for 1,754 yards and 15 touchdowns over his entire run in Cleveland.

Teams have until 4 p.m. ET on March 8 to use franchise tags. Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown and Bengals safety Jessie Bates are also expected to be tagged before that deadline passes.

37 responses to “Browns use franchise tag on David Njoku

  1. 36 catches, 4 tds, 475 yds for 16 gets you a raise in pay to 10.9 million. Wow.

  2. Hopefully they are close to signing a 3-year, team friendly deal.

    If not this is really, really odd.

  3. A modest 36 catches for 475 yards and 4 touchdowns equals 10.9 million dollars AND you’re in for a raise!? I gotta say I’m all for it!

  4. Wasn’t he supposed to be traded last year? Divide his career totals by 2 and you have a guy who’s had a year worthy of being franchised. Browns can’t Un-Brown themselves, even under Stefanski

  5. Good use of the tag. Good player and gives them options. Not the worst use of funds.

  6. Great work if you can get it! Total stone hands but Hooper was a terrible signing so they had to do it.

  7. David is good, but hasn’t been utilized enough. Hopefully they’ve noticed that.

  8. Averaging 37 catches for 4 tds a year. Nothing can predict future mediocrity like the Browns spending franchise money on average players.

  9. Makes all kinds of sense. Gives them more time to negotiate. Looks like Austin Hooper will be out of a job.

  10. Maybe he’s a great blocker because I don’t see $10M worth of receiving production there. This is an odd tag.. Is he even the starter? What did they sign Austin Hooper for?

  11. They are all in on him now. Hooper didnt match his FA contract, and Njoku has shown flashes, but they should not pay him this much. However, I do think if heit the open market he’d get a deal. Once the stink of the Browns was off him, he’d blossom.

  12. On the one hand, he only had 4 TD catches. On the other hand, that was the most TD catches by anyone on the team. The factory of sadness abides.

  13. Njoku’s blocking has improved by leaps and bounds. I imagine Hooper is not long for this team.

  14. 25 year of a revolving door of players that leads to inconsistency and a losing culture. The moment to Browns show a willingness to keep decent talent, it’s the wrong decision. Sometimes I just don’t understand us Browns fans.

  15. He’s not worth 10 million a year, but the TE market is really weird right now. Kittle is arguably underpaid, but there are only 8 TE’s averaging 10 mil+ (2 now on the Browns and 2 on the Patriots).

  16. Browns being Browns.. They gotta pay Mayfield big bucks too…. And probably Landry.

  17. Amazing! Another third place finish in the AFC north on the way! This should be a size note in the Cleveland plain dealer

  18. Ah yes, all these couch GMs are obviously smarter than the Browns front office with a bunch of Ivy League graduates!

  19. this is all about clearing the lanes for the RBs. His offensive production is tied to blocking

  20. That seems like quite an overpay for that tiny level of production. Is he just an amazing blocker or something? What am I missing?

  21. Sign that tag immediately before they realize it’s not a good idea and pull it off the table.

  22. Seems to me you could get that kind of production out of the middle rounds of the draft or a veteran backup TE who can block to go along with it. Never thought much of Njoku, you’re worth what someone is willing to pay I suppose.

  23. Given the popularity of the Browns in recent years, they’ve been on tv a lot…so I watched this dude quite a bit; couldn’t help but notice the occasional good catch (but that’s his job!) but mostly a bunch of drops, a bit soft and someone who doesn’t move the dial at all….so I guess in order to be franchised in the games i didn’t see him he must have been awesome, either that or the Browns are simply the Browns. Cleveland, have fun with average to below average Baker and Njoku. More of the same.

  24. I’m not really a fan of the Browns but an observer. I thought Njoku had flashes that showed he could be something special, but he has terrible production. How is he tag worthy? Dude must be balling out in practice.

  25. My theory here. Njoku is a special athlete. Browns saw what happened when OBJ escaped Cleveland and are scared Njoku was about to do the same so they chained him down so they can’t watch him blossom somewhere else.

  26. This was a very smart move. Likely they are near a deal where they give him a modest raise for 2022 (say to $8M from his current $6.7M); more in 2023 ($10m?) and a back-loaded contract in 2023 ($15M?). If he does not pan out, the Browns release him by then. If he does pan out (by that, I mean the Browns actually use their most explosive pass catcher for the past 2 seasons), then the “inflated” 3rd year salary will be in line with what top 10 TEs receive. Or they could always restructure if they don’t like that cap hit.
    For those of you who complain about his “stone hands”, live in the now. His drop percentage was about 3% per for the last 2 years. In 2021, it was actually lower than Kelce’s, Kittle’s or Waller’s. He has not had a serious drop problem in years.
    His YPC and YAC have always compared favorably to the best TEs.

    If the Browns don’t use him much more often than they have for the past 2 years, then I’ll agree this was a dumb signing. $11M is a lot to pay for a blocking TE (btw: his blocking is now pretty good. it used to be terrible).

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