BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots offense could use some help at the moment, sparking chatter about the team making a move by the Nov. 3 NFL trade deadline. Tight end is certainly one of their positions of need, and one just so happens to want off his current team.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, tight end David Njoku wants to be traded from the Browns ahead of the deadline. Njoku made a similar request over the offseason before changing his mind, but now he’s behind Austin Hooper and rookie Harrison Bryant on Cleveland’s tight end depth chart.
Njoku, the 29th overall pick in 2017, appeared in all 16 games in each of his first two NFL seasons, hauling in 88 receptions and eight touchdowns. His best season came in 2018 when he caught 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns.
But the last two seasons have been filled with injuries for Njoku, limiting him to just seven games. He broke his wrist in Week 2 last season and played in just four games, finishing with just five catches and a touchdown for the year.
He started 2020 with three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s Week 1 loss to Baltimore, but also suffered a knee injury that cost him three games. He’s been targeted just four times over the last two weeks, and it sounds like he once again wants out in Cleveland.
Njoku did Tweet out Monday that he didn’t voice his request for a trade to Cabot, though Cabot cited league sources in her report.
I did not say anything to Mary Kay about a trade request
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) October 19, 2020
Would Njoku make sense for the Patriots? They could use a lot more production at the position, with Ryan Izzo the only tight end to catch a pass this season with six receptions for 82 yards. Izzo had a costly fumble in New England’s 18-12 loss to the Broncos over the weekend, and is not a very reliable pass-catcher for Cam Newton.
The Pats drafted two tight ends in the offseason, but neither are logging much playing time at the moment. Devin Asiasi has played just 24 percent of New England’s offensive snaps and doesn’t have a reception, while Dalton Keene hasn’t played yet as he battles a neck injury.
Cabot says the Browns would like help at linebacker, safety and corner, and may look for a starter at any of those positions in return for Njoku. While New England’s depth at linebacker is almost non-existent, they have a plethora of talent in the secondary. The Browns could also seek a draft pick in return for Njoku, which would be a much more appealing price tag for New England.
Njoku us only signed for one more season with a cap hit just over $6 million. The main concern with the tight end is his health, but if the price is right, it may be a worthy gamble for the Patriots.