The Cleveland Browns front office has done an incredible job of locking up their franchise players to long-term deals.
In fact, most of the Browns’ high-caliber players are under multiple-year contracts.
That being said, there are still a few players that the Browns could potentially extend in the near future.
One of the most notable names would be fifth-year tight end David Njoku.
Here To Stay?
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, the Browns are “very close” to a long-term deal with Njoku.
The Browns organization and Njoku have certainly had their fair share of issues in the past.
That includes Njoku requesting a trade, but eventually deciding to stay with Cleveland.
The former first-round pick has put together a rollercoaster of a professional career.
He played well during his first two seasons, but injuries kept him sidelined for most of the 2019 season.
Njoku failed to bounce back in 2020, but played fairly well last season.
That being said, the Browns decided to place the franchise tag on Njoku this offseason.
Confirming that the #Browns have placed a franchise tag on David Njoku.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) March 7, 2022
Clearly, the organization wasn’t ready to lose Njoku, but didn’t want to sign him long-term.
He has shown flashes of solid play, but both injuries and dropped passes have been the biggest problems.
It’s obvious that the Browns have faith in Njoku, but aren’t quite fully committed yet.
That means Njoku could earn himself an extension, assuming he plays well in 2022.
He should be the focal point at tight end with Austin Hooper no longer on the roster.
Cleveland will designate him as a post-June 1 cut for cap purposes.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) March 16, 2022
The Browns do still have Harrison Bryant, but he is likely to take a backseat to Njoku.
That goes to show that the Browns do believe Njoku can be a No. 1 tight end.
All the signs are pointing to Njoku being in line for an extension in the near future.
What’s The Deal?
Currently, Njoku is the seventh-highest paid tight end heading into the 2022 season.
He is set to make $10.9 million due to the fact the Browns placed the franchise tag on him.
Possibly, Njoku could get $12 million per year on a three-year deal, assuming the Browns decide to extend him.
That isn’t a bad deal, assuming Njoku actually can stay healthy and produce on the field.
The Browns don’t have many better options, so they’ll likely stick with Njoku.
As already mentioned, the Browns locked up most of their franchise players.
That being said, it seems that Njoku and Kareem Hunt would be next in line for a new deal.
It’s uncertain if the Browns are willing to pay Hunt significant money with Chubb already extended.
That means Njoku could jump ahead of him on the list for extensions.
However, he’ll need to prove himself before the Browns hand him a new deal.
Although, we could see Njoku sign a mid-season extension, assuming he plays well out of the gate.
The Browns have been searching for consistency at tight end, so maybe Njoku can provide that.