David Njoku wants out of Cleveland, and the Redskins have a big hole at tight end. It's that simple, right? Wrong.
The 2017 first-round pick made just five catches last season amid reports he did not get along with former Browns coach Freddie Kitchens, but in his first two NFL seasons Njoku produced at a much higher level, averaging 44 catches for more than 500 yards with four touchdowns each season.
He's got talent, for sure, but still this offseason Cleveland made Austin Hooper the richest tight end in the NFL, signing him to a four-year, $42 million contract. And the Browns drafted another tight end, Harrison Bryant of Florida Atlantic, in the fourth round.
The word is new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski likes to deploy a lot of 12 personnel, meaning two tight ends on the field at once, but still that's a lot of money and draft capital invested at the position other than Njoku. It makes sense he wants out and a chance to be the top dog.
So, with a talent void at the position, should the Redskins make a trade for Njoku?
Like most things in life, it depends on the price.
With two years remaining on his rookie deal - Cleveland exercised the fifth-year option on Njoku's rookie contract for the 2021 season in April - he has value and could bring immediate stability to the Redskins tight end room. Right now that group looks to be led by Logan Thomas, who made 16 catches all last season and is a converted college quarterback. Rookie Thaddeus Moss appears to have the most upside of the group, but he's also working back from a foot injury that caused him to go undrafted.
Beyond Thomas and Moss, the Redskins have Jeremy Sprinkle, Richard Rodgers, Hale Hentges and Caleb Wilson. None of those names elicit much excitement.
The reports out of Cleveland say the Browns don't want to trade Njoku, but would for a first-round pick. If that's true, the rebuilding Redskins shouldn't even pick up the phone.
But, as training camp gets closer and this story lingers, that asking price could drop significantly. If it gets to a Day Three pick, it's worth a conversation.
Ron Rivera is focused on the long haul in Washington, building a sustainable playoff team for many years, not quick success in 2020. Njoku could help, but the team is also well-positioned to spend on a tight end in 2021 without giving up draft picks. Or they could see what they have in Moss in Thomas this season and draft somebody next year as needed.
If the price is right, sure, but until that asking price drops, don't expect much to happen.
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