The Cleveland Browns have quite a few contract decisions that need to be made over the next two seasons. The biggest is with quarterback Baker Mayfield with cornerback Denzel Ward, seemingly, the second most important.
Both of those players have contracts through the 2022 season while a few others are set to be free agents at the end of the 2021 season. Running back Nick Chubb was a part of that group before the team extended him during training camp.
Offensive lineman Wyatt Teller has often been discussed among Mayfield, Ward and Chubb as players needing extension while safety Ronnie Harrison is set to be a free agent at the end of the season.
David Njoku has rarely been discussed but could be setting himself up for an extension in Cleveland. Some were surprised when the Browns picked up Njoku’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal in 2020.
The University of Miami tight end had his best season in the NFL in 2018 with 56 receptions for 639 yards and 4 touchdowns. Since then, Njoku had only 24 catches and less than 300 yards in 2019 and 2020 combined.
Was Week 1 of the 2021 season a breakout game for the, still, young pass catcher? On five targets, Baker Mayfield connected with him three times for 76 yards including two vital first downs. Njoku played an important role as a big receiver with impressive physical traits that allow him to go up and get the ball.
While Austin Hooper is under contract through 2023 and Harrison Bryant showed flashes of talent in 2020, Njoku presents as the team’s most dynamic tight end. He has worked tirelessly on his hands and blocking skills, greatly improving in both areas.
With his recent switch back to his previous agent, it is possible that the team and player could come to a deal during the season. If he has a few more games like Week 1, Cleveland may be forced into signing him to a decent-sized deal. The Browns could have a salary cap space crunch coming soon but letting a talented tight end walk might be foolish.