With yet another shocking contract extension this off-season. The Cleveland Browns have reached terms on a new contract for tight end David Njoku. Many Browns fans are excited about the contract extension, while other fans are left puzzled at the contract and the money. Some believe that he is deserving with the best yet to come. Then there are some who think it’s a reach to give him the money because he hasn’t shown much. So regardless of which side you fall on we discuss it all here.
Re-signing at four years 56.75 million where 28 million of that deal is fully guaranteed. The former 1st rounder annual salary will be right around 14 million a year. With his 28 million in guarantees that makes him the 5th highest paid tight in the NFL. That puts him in the category of some of the best tight ends like George Kittle, Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce. Knowing he is being paid as much as the previous tight ends some fans are left scratching their heads. The major difference between them and Njoku is that he lacks the production of a top 5 tight end in the league.
Top 5 paid tight ends
- George Kittle San Francisco 49ers 15 million
- Travis Kelce Kansas City Cheifs 14.313 million
- Dallass Goedert Philadelphia Eagles 14.25 million
- Mark Andrews Baltimore Ravens 14 million
- David Njoku Cleveland Browns 13.68 million
Career Stats/ 2022 Season Stats
David Njoku’s new contract most definitely puts him in the conversation of the top tier tight ends in the NFL. The questions here is does he deserve this new money? Does the production over his past 5 seasons say he should be paid in the top 5 category? I’ll let you be the judge of that. During the 2022 season Njoku had 36 receptions for 475 yards and a total of 4 touchdowns. Over David’s five year career he has incurred 148 receptions. During his best season which was the 2018 season, he had 56 receptions 639 yards on 88 total targets. Each of the last 3 seasons his targets dropped. That very well may speak to the quarterback situation over those last 3 seasons.
If we were to compare his numbers to that of Travis Kelce the numbers do not match up. Kelce in the 2018 season compared to Njoku’s best season (which was the 2018). Travis Kelce’s receptions were 103, with 1,336 total yards with 10 touchdowns. Those numbers are Kelce playing a full 16 game schedule. Kelce’s numbers are astronomical compared to Njoku’s. But that is the type of production that’s expected with this type of contract. To be fair the quarterback situation was no where near as stable as the Cheifs was. As well the browns did bring in another tight end the last two seasons to start over Njoku. The browns had 3 tight ends all fighting for playing time. So time will tell on this contract.
Many fans feel that this contract might’ve been premature. The production for Njoku so far does not match the money he just commanded. It seems as though Andrew Berry and the browns are expecting a big leap from David Njoku. Belief for this breakout production is because of newly acquired QB Deshaun Watson. Watson arguably a top 5-8 QB in the NFL, can and will help the growth of tight end David Njoku. Better QB play from Watson will elevate all Cleveland Browns offensive players. So in the eyes of the Browns the contract is paying for what will come.
On a more positive note. David Njoku set career highs last season in yards per target and yards after catch. Yards per target Njoku came in 4th in the league at 9 yards per target. He was then tied for first in yards after catch at 6.7 yards. Expectations moving forward is that Njoku can and will be more productive and even elite level. For a team in the Cleveland Browns that seemed to be missing one hole which was the most important. The quarterback position. Top level play at your most important position does wonders for a team and can help elevate players that need it the most. David Njoku is a prime candidate for that.
The Cleveland Browns appear to be all in for this year. Some inside the building feel they will be this years Los Angeles Rams. Like Cleveland, Los Angeles had a very talented roster. But they were held back by mediocre quarterback play. With their new QB they’ve locked up the most important players. According to an article by ESPN “the Cleveland Browns are the only team in the NFL with quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end that rank in the top 7 for guaranteed money at their position.