NFL: Browns franchise tag tight end David Njoku
David Njoku has yet to live up to his draft status, but the Browns appear to be betting that he will soon do so after placing a franchise tag on him.
The Cleveland Browns have placed the franchise tag on tight end David Njoku.
Njoku was set to hit unrestricted free agency but the Browns made the move to place a one-year franchise tender on Njoku before Tuesday's deadline, according to a report from NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
The 2017 first-round pick has yet to live up to expectations since the Browns took him with the 29th overall selection five years ago.
His best season in terms of receiving yards came back in 2018 when he finished with 639, but he has since struggled with injuries.
He played in only four games in 2019 and 13 in 2020 as the Browns reached the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Browns bank on Njoku
Njoku started 11 of his 16 games in 2021 and finished with 475 yards and four touchdowns in a campaign that saw a disappointing Browns team fail to qualify for the postseason.
However, his average of 13.2 yards per reception ranked fourth among all qualifying tight ends, and, by tagging Njoku, the Browns clearly believe he can have a more significant impact on their offense.