Browns place franchise tag on tight end David Njoku

Njoku was one of the few bright spots last season for the Browns, who went 8-9 and missed the playoffs amid massive expectations. The 25-year-old caught 35 passes for 475 yards and four touchdowns in 2021.

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The Browns believe Njoku, a first-round draft pick in 2017 from Miami, can produce even more and have spoken to his agent about a long-term contract.

FILE - Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) warms up prior to the start of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Cleveland. The Browns have used a franchise tag for next season on tight end David Njoku, preventing him from hitting the free agent market.

FILE – Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) warms up prior to the start of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Cleveland. The Browns have used a franchise tag for next season on tight end David Njoku, preventing him from hitting the free agent market. (AP Photo/Kirk Irwin, File)

It’s a dramatic turnaround for Njoku, who previously asked to be traded before emerging as one of the team’s most dependable weapons. The franchise tag means Njoku will be under contract through the 2022 season for roughly $ 11 million.

Njoku has 148 career receptions for 1,754 yards and 15 TDs in five seasons with the Browns. His 71-yard touchdown catch against the Los Angeles Chargers last season was the longest in the NFL by a tight end.

Cleveland also tendered contracts to exclusive rights free agent wide receiver Ja’Marcus Bradley and offensive linemen Blake Hance and Michael Dunn.

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