NFL Rumors: Cleveland Places Franchise Tag on Former 1st Round Pick


As of Monday, the Cleveland Browns have officially placed the franchise tag on their former 1st round pick in tight-end David Njoku. The move was initially reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport but has since been confirmed by the team. 

As such, Njoku is will now be guaranteed a projected $10.8 million for the 2022 season but it is widely speculated at this point that the tag may simply be acting as a placeholder for a multi-year deal. This off-season would have been the first opportunity for the young tight-end to explore free agency after being drafted in 2017 but that now seems quite unlikely; the Browns will have until the July 15th deadline to sign Njoku to a long-term contract or they could attempt a "tag-and-trade".

Before last season, Njoku expressed a desire to remain with the Browns so it is currently unclear why the two parties have yet to reach an agreement. Adding to this, it has also been reported by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero that an offer was on the table at some point from the team that would pay Njoku in the ballpark of $13 million per year, which would have placed him in the top 5 salaries for the position across the entire league.

In five seasons with the Browns Njoku has been relatively successful, but it is definitely questionable whether his production has translated to such a high price-tag. During his tenure with the team Njoku has logged a total of 148 receptions for 1754 yards and 15 touchdowns but his statistics have diminished since he held the starting role exclusively in 2018. Regardless, it seemingly looks like Cleveland had no interest in losing one of their few exciting offensive play-makers, especially one that is only 25 years old.

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