The Cleveland Browns are inching ever so closely to a playoff berth, but they should start planning for next offseason.
This season has been a spectacular one for the Cleveland Browns. They clinched their first winning season since 2007 and are on the verge of making the playoffs for the first-time since 2002. Not to mention, they can potentially win the AFC North title if they win their final two games of the season and if the Pittsburgh Steelers lose out.
There’s plenty for Browns fans to be excited for. They have a solid general manager in Andrew Berry, a Coach of the Year favorite in Kevin Stefanski and an explosive offense led by quarterback Baker Mayfield. While Cleveland is on the verge of becoming a perennial playoff contender for the foreseeable future, they can improve their odds down the road. That can all start by exploring some trades this offseason.
Here are three moves the Browns should consider prior to the start of the 2021 regular-season.
Trade David Njoku
In 2017, the Browns held three first-round selections to help bolster their roster. Myles Garrett has turned into one of the league’s ferocious pass rushers while safety Jabrill Peppers was traded to the New York Giants in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. And then, there’s tight end David Njoku.
Njoku was a highly sought after tight end out of Miami, as he made the transition from wide receiver following his freshman season. In his first season at his “new” position in 2016, Njoku caught 43 passes for 698 yards and eight touchdowns. Besides a relatively strong 2018 season, Njoku’s projection was hampered due to injuries, specifically his concussion and broken wrist suffered early in the 2019 campaign.
The organization decided to exercise Njoku’s fifth-year option, but that came after they signed free agent Austin Hooper to a lucrative contract and selected NCAA Tight End of the Year Harrison Bryant in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft. There were conflicting reports of Njoku demanding a trade off the team, but he ultimately stayed put. Even though he’s taken a backseat to Hooper and Bryant, Njoku made an impact in pass-blocking.
Let’s face it, there’s no room for Njoku to progress on this team. The Browns would be better off trading him elsewhere for a mid-to-late round draft pick. Cleveland gains draft capital, while Njoku gets a shot to become a starter on another NFL team next season on the final year of his rookie contract. It’s a win-win.