With David Njoku being talked about in trade rumors, it’s best to remember he won’t net much for the Cleveland Browns.
Don’t like the idea of having to trade second-round pick and David Njoku to get a top tier pass rusher? Well, that’s just where the league is on their evaluation of Njoku. The Cleveland Browns tight end isn’t someone who has a lot of trade value at first glance anymore.
He’s never topped 700 yards in any of his three seasons, was such a malcontent that Freddie Kitchens benched him, even when Kitchens was coaching for his job. A pretty strong sign that whatever issues Njoku has must be pretty serious to warrant a coach excommunicating him even when one’s job is on the line.
The Browns have faith in Njoku though, allegedly. Yet, if Njoku was that well-liked, the team wouldn’t of gone after two new players who are both seen as “starters” in the league. (Potentially for the fourth-round pick, Harrison Bryant.) Yes, the Browns have publically stated that they have the utmost respect for Njoku as a player and blah-blah-blah. Unproven platitudes and nothing more. If they did, they wouldn’t have signed and drafted top talent.
So on a draft pick scale, what is Njoku’s value after three terribly uneven seasons in the NFL? One could wager a 5th-round pick is fair value. So is it possible that Njoku could be used to swing a trade for a major player? Seems unlikely on his own.
Your best bet to utilize him beyond his value is to target a team that has a player that simply refuses to play anymore for that franchise and the team is in need of anything or anyone that constitutes “value” for a departing asset. This is where the proposed Field Yates trade idea enters into the fray.
Yates proposed a trade that saw Yannick Ngakoue going to Cleveland in exchange for Njoku and a second-round pick going to Jacksonville. That should really put into perspective Njoku’s league-wide value, basically meaning he has none. If Ngakoue doesn’t want to remain in Jacksonville, the team will move on from him, so they’ll take anything back they can get for him.
Is the 2nd-round pick fair value for Ngakoue? Well, look at past trades under this regime for the Jaguars. Dante Fowler got traded for a third and fourth-round pick, while Jalen Ramsey went for two first-round picks and a fourth. So what’s Ngakoue worth? Well, he’s very good but he’s not an elite pass-rusher, not yet anyway. He’s also in the last year of his deal. While young, you don’t know if you’ll be able to re-sign him. He’s by far not worth a first-rounder under those parameters, but he’s more effective than Fowler performance-wise; so a market of a second-round pick seems fair.
Basically making Njoku a throw-in piece.
While the Jaguars need a tight end, they don’t use one all that often, which should give you an idea of how Njoku is viewed by those in the know. Does that mean that Njoku couldn’t become the next break out player in the NFL? Of course not, there’s too much parody and uncertainty right now. This is just to show you that his value isn’t very high and any traded he’s involved in wouldn’t be one where he was the centerpiece.
If Njoku can bring in a Ngagkoue-type player with a little draft selection to sweeten the deal, then he’ll have done more for this team leaving than he ever did playing.