The Jaguars are viewed as a trade destination for Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku
Just last December, consensus opinion had it that Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku was a lame-duck player. The former first-round pick had fallen out of favor with then general manage John Dorsey and coach Freddie Kitchens.
After battling injury for most of the season, Njoku could barely sniff the field after being activated. Nobody was putting money on his return as rumors of a potential trade loomed.
Alas, the Browns changed their front office again, while also hiring Kevin Stefanski to replace Kitchens. All of a sudden, Njoku had new life and the Browns cemented their commitment to the 23-year-old Miami product by picking his fifth-year option.
While he’s managed to survive up until this point, there’s a long way to go until Week 1, and anyone who’s everyone is trying to find a defensive end to pair opposite Myles Garrett.
ESPN’s Field Yates reasoned that Jaguars’ defensive end Yannick Ngakoue would be the player to target. The scribe considers a trade of Ngakoue to the Browns for Njoku and a 2021 second-round pick as a win for both teams.
Of course Ngakoue would be a great fit, as he’s averaged at least eight sacks in each of his first four seasons. Plus, he’s been durable, missing only one game in that span. The player the Browns currently start opposite Garrett, Olivier Vernon, has battled injuries the past couple of seasons.
Additionally, Yates reasoned the Browns would be dealing from a position of strength after signing free agent Austin Hooper, while then drafting much heralded FAU prospect Hunter Bryant in the fourth round.
Cleveland Browns won’t make this deal
The Browns have to be thinking about the contracts they’ll be handing out in the not-so-distant future. The team is reportedly talking to Myles Garrett about an extension.
If the organization made this trade, which includes Njoku, a player still on rookie contract, as well as a second-round pick, you’re probably looking at extending a player of Ngakoue’s caliber long term.
In addition to Garrett, the team also needs to ponder future extension for Denzel Ward and most notably, Baker Mayfield. Unfortunately, we don’t know if Mayfield will get the lucrative extension so many franchise quarterback’s get. If he does, great. It means he played well and that the Browns believe he can lead the franchise to the Super Bowl.
Trading for Ngakoue is tantalizing, just as is the prospect of signing Jadeveon Clowney. In reality, though, look for the Browns to stick with Vernon for one more year. The pass rushing complement to Myles Garrett is more likely to come in the 2021 draft, than it is this offseason.