The Cleveland Browns placed the franchise tag on tight end David Njoku this offseason, but the team is reportedly looking to sign him to a long-term extension as well.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Cleveland offered a long-term deal to Njoku that exceeds $13 million per year. It is "an impressive number for someone with just 1,754 receiving yards over five seasons," Fowler noted.
Njoku became more important to the team when it released tight end Austin Hooper.
While Hooper is a two-time Pro Bowler from his time on the Atlanta Falcons, the 435 receiving yards he posted in 2020 and the 345 he finished with in 2021 marked his lowest totals since he was a rookie in 2016.
The 25-year-old Njoku figures to be a central piece of Cleveland's attack without Hooper, but he has always stood out more for his potential than production to this point.
The Browns selected him with a first-round pick in 2017, and he looked well on his way to an impressive career when he finished his second season with 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns.
Yet he appeared in just four games the following season, had 213 receiving yards in 2020 and tallied 475 receiving yards last year.
Njoku's physical profile at 6'4" suggests he can be a red-zone threat who can high-point passes in the end zone. He also possesses the athleticism to break free of linebackers downfield and showed flashes of his potential in his second season.
Cleveland must still believe in that potential enough to offer him a long-term deal, and the 2022 campaign could be an important one as he attempts to carve out his place in the aerial attack.