It's not easy finding targets in an offense that contains Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry within its wide receiving corps. Still, for David Njoku, health was the biggest obstacle in the way of him being able to achieve success, even with that extremely talented duo of receiving talent.
It's really not easy finding targets when your team also signs a top-tier receiving tight end who earned Pro Bowl selections in both 2018 and 2019. And that's what the Browns did when they decided to sign Austin Hooper, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, to a four-year, $44-million deal. The Browns will also have Kareem Hunt at their disposal for a full season and they spent a fourth-round draft pick on another tight end in the 2020 Draft.
All of this has bubbled up to a piece of news that isn't all that surprising: Njoku wants out.
Schefter tacked on a quote from Rosenhaus, who said that it's in Njoku's "best interest to find a new team."
Njoku's talent is undeniable, and you'd have to think it could go to better use in a system that isn't overflowing with talent. The 2017 first-round pick enjoyed a solid rookie season before he broke out in 2018, finishing with 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns. He was expected to build upon his resume even more in 2019 before an injury derailed his season, and similar hype had built up for him up to this point in 2020before the trade request was announced.
He said at the end of May that he was "excited to come back with his teammates" in Cleveland and commended the offense for being "very tight end friendly," (via Nathan Zegura of the Cleveland Browns). Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt built upon those feelings with his preseason comments.
However, as Schefter noted, the Browns are aiming to keep him around. Njoku is right: the Browns offense is very tight end friendly, especially given the addition of new head coach Kevin Stefanski.
There are still teams out there who lack a prominent pass-catching tight end, including the Patriots (though they drafted two), the Cowboys, the Bengals and the Cardinals. We'll see if any of those squads come knocking for the opportunity at a young, unproven, and very talented option.