The Cleveland Browns continue to spend money to retain their young core. In the last few years, the team has inked Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller and Denzel Ward to big money deals. They also gave Deshaun Watson a big new contract upon acquiring him.
Now, after earlier reports that the two sides were close on a deal, the Browns have inked TE David Njoku to a four-year deal with over $56 million.
Njoku hinted at him signing shortly after Cleveland brought back DE Jadeveon Clowney at the start of the week.
The Browns third first-round pick in 2017 turns 26 years old later this summer. The team placed the franchise tag on him earlier this offseason.
The terms of the deal are huge according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
The #Browns and franchise tagged TE David Njoku have reached an agreement in principle on a large new 4-year, $56.75M contract extension, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. He gets $28M guaranteed at signing on the deal that averages $14.1875M per year, the fifth highest paid TE.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 27, 2022
As noted, the deal puts Njoku near the top of the tight end market along with George Kittle, Mark Andrews, Dallas Goedert and Travis Kelce.
Due to injuries and inconsistent play, the University of Miami product has not put up huge numbers in his five seasons. His best year came in 2018 where he had 56 receptions for 639 yards and four touchdowns.
In 2021, Njoku matched the four touchdowns but only had 36 receptions for 475 yards.
Given the size of the deal, Cleveland is betting on Watson to unlock the athletic potential in Njoku so that his production matches his huge contract.