Redskins should attempt to trade for Browns tight end David Njoku
Austin Hooper is off the free-agent market and is now a member of the Cleveland Browns. Could that open up a potential David Njoku trade? The Washington Redskins should at least inquire about the possibility.
The Washington Redskins seemed to have a little bit of interest in free-agent tight end Austin Hooper. However, as his cost got inflated, the team backed off in the race for Hooper’s services. As a result, Hooper ended up with the Cleveland Browns after signing a four-year, $44 million deal.
With Hooper now set as the No. 1 tight end option in Cleveland, the team could have some trade bait on their hands.
That would be David Njoku. The former first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft is entering his fourth NFL season and may be in the final year of his contract. He has a fifth-year option that the team could pick up, but given Njoku’s lack of production with the Browns, it’s worth wondering if they’d exercise that, especially after spending so much on Hooper.
Last season, Njoku couldn’t get healthy after suffering a broken wrist early in the season. He was designated to return from IR, but he fell out of favor during his absence. After being reactivated, he played only 24 total offensive snaps for the squad and totaled five catches for 41 yards on the season.
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With a new coaching staff in town, it’s possible Njoku could redeem himself. He did catch 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns the previous season. However, he’s only a backup now and it may make sense for the team to part ways with him, especially if they’re confident in Ricky Seals-Jones‘ ability to serve as a top backup.
If Njoku is put on the trade block, the Redskins should be interested in acquiring him. He’s big (6-foot-4, 246 pounds), athletic, and he won’t be 24 until July. He has a lot of time to find his way at the NFL level and it may take a change of scenery for him to do that.
In a weak tight end draft class, Njoku could be a nice stopgap starter option for the ‘Skins at the very least. And if he can stay healthy, he’ll be a good middle of the field target for Dwayne Haskins.
What would it take for the Redskins to get Njoku? They could probably offer up a mid-Day 3 pick to get him. Or they could try to acquire him as part of a package should the Browns still want to trade for Trent Williams. That may be their best course of action as they try to upgrade the tight end position and turn Williams into some assets.
That said, the Browns may not be interested in moving Njoku. As ESPN’s Jake Trotter noted, the Vikings played more two-tight end sets than any in the NFL under Kevin Stefanski.
If the Browns continue that trend and run a lot of two-tight end sets, they’ll keep Njoku. That would give them the opportunity to create some serious matchup nightmares.
Still, the Redskins shouldn’t be afraid to call up the Browns and at least check in on Njoku’s status. Maybe they’d be willing to consider offloading him in the right deal.