Cory's Corner: David Njoku Is A Bargain

I am the guy that usually steers clear of shiny objects. 

Most are a huge price tag and don't have much substance. 

But I'm about to make an about-face as Browns tight end David Njoku and his agent Drew Rosenhaus have a requested a trade from Cleveland.

It's a huge gamble, because Njoku missed 10 games with a wrist fracture last year.

However, Njoku is a physical marvel and he proved why the Browns drafted him 29th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Miami. He caught 56 balls for 639 yards in 2018, good for 39.94 reception yards a game — ranking him 15th among tight ends. Remember Jimmy Graham? He was 16th. 

The reason the Packers need to jump on this deal is because Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan were the only Packers tight ends that got in the regular season stat book last year that are still on the roster. Both of those guys averaged 12.5 receptions and 128 yards last season. And who knows what Lewis has left in the tank as he enters his 15th NFL season. The 36-year-old was brought back to Green Bay because he has been a pulverizing blocker, not because he can run away from anyone. 

It also helps that the Packers could get him for a fifth rounder. That's a lot of value for a first round talent — especially a talent that turns 24 on July 10. 

The Packers lacked speed and athleticism last year. They didn't address those things from a pass receiver point of view, so this would be general manager Brian Gutekunst's mulligan. He has a great opportunity to add a dynamic element, which could pair nicely with how he addressed the running game. 

Njoku has had plenty of questions about his hands and now his attitude becoming an issue. This would be the perfect opportunity for Aaron Rodgers to guide him and teach him how to be humble. Requesting a trade doesn't help your Q-rating in the locker room, so Njoku will want ro remedy that immediately. Coach Matt LaFleur will also be forced to make him accountable. That's the biggest thing. Njoku just needs to know that what he does away from the football field makes a huge difference. 

Njoku could be a matchup nightmare because no linebacker is going to be able to guard him and his 6-foot-4 frame is going to outwork just about any unsuspecting defensive back. 

Njoku is owed $6 million in 2021, which has scared off plenty of people. However, the only players the Packers need to sign right now from that 2021 free agency class are left tackle David Bakhtiari, center Corey Linsley and defensive tackle Kenny Clark. Lane Taylor will be 31 and we don't know what we're going to see from Devin Funchess and Kevin King.  

The Packers need a guy that can stretch the middle of the field. Njoku can give them that. 

Time to strike a deal Gutekunst. 

 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (34)

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 07, 2020 at 06:53 am

IF they can get him for a 5th rounder. Absolutely I make that deal. If its higher then a 4th. I don't make the deal.

Typically I have to question the player when they request a trade. However, its Cleveland. Don't really need to question anyone wanting out of there.

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Monsmoy's picture

July 07, 2020 at 07:38 am

Gute seems to use the GBP 4th round picks as trading pieces.
I too think that bringing him in is a great idea. We currently have Big Dog, who has to be in his last season. Rob Tonyan, who is learning but noone speaks that highly of (I like him as an XTE) and an unproven Sternberger who everyone thinks will be awesome in what is essentially his year 1. This is classic Packers optimism as if discussing any other team's rookie TE fans would say it takes a minimum of three years to learn. Deguara adds options at the position, but ideally you need another impact Y TE. That could be with the injection of David or a longer played plan of a high draft pick (Pat Freiermuth?). If the cap can afford it, remembering KC, DB69 and D Adams the following year, this has to be worth trading for.

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nostradanus's picture

July 07, 2020 at 07:04 am

Njoku is a talented player that’s for sure and looks exactly like what the Packers have been lacking in a Tight End. The Packers also have 3 compensation draft picks coming next year most likely, so they could easily give up a 5th.

However;

*He seems to have a bad attitude, something the Packers GM’s have steered away from generally, unless you count Marty Bennett and we all know how that worked out.

*Njoku and his agent Are going to be looking for BIG BUCKS even though Njoku hasn’t necessarily earned that big contract.

*The Packers have many key veterans to sign in 2021.
Clark, Bakhtiari, Jones, King, Linsley, Williams.
Signing Njoku would mean saying goodbye to at least one of your own guys who don’t have attitude problems and have earned it.

*The Packers have invested third round draft choices the last two years in tight ends. They need to let those players develop.

*The 2020 season is in question and I don’t see the Packers throwing money around for their own guys, so there is no way they do it for this guy. That would create issues among those that deserve it.

No thank you on Njoku

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Coldworld's picture

July 07, 2020 at 11:13 am

Very convincing response

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nostradanus's picture

July 07, 2020 at 06:00 pm

Thank you

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:49 pm

And Njoku can't or doesn't block. [google Njoku and blocking - you will get something.]
That's not in line with the Lafleur vision for the offense as I understand it.

$6.1M in 2021 is a problem, but an extension might fix it, if there is a 2020 season and Njoku shows enough.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

July 07, 2020 at 07:08 am

Yes but we just drafted 2 tightends in the 3rd round in consecutive years. We shouldn't spend 6million plus give up a 5th rounder for an injured/disgruntled player at a position of little need. Now if he played d-line or linebacker I would concur.

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Guam's picture

July 07, 2020 at 07:42 am

Corey - You lost me when you said "However the only players the packers need to sign right now from the 2021 free agent class are left tackle David Bakhtiari, center Corey Linsley and defensive tackle Kenny Clarke." The Packers don't have the salary cap space to sign more than one of those three now, how do they afford Njoku?

Njoku would be a one year rental just like Funchess will be and it would cost the Packers a fifth round choice. When the Packers drafted Love they made it clear they weren't going all in on the 2020 season, so why would they waste a fifth round draft choice for a one year rental in 2020?

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dobber's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:48 am

This is currently NJoku's fourth year and the Browns exercised his 5th year option, so he's on board for two seasons and neither is a bank breaker.

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Guam's picture

July 07, 2020 at 04:04 pm

And you think Njoku and his aggressive agent (Rosenhaus) are going to be happy with no contract for those two years? Why do you suppose he is asking out of Cleveland? The Packers can't afford all of their current soon to be free agents. Why would we add another that is essentially on the same time clock as Clarke, King and others? I stand by my point - Njoku would be one more short term rental and likely not a happy one.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 09, 2020 at 12:29 pm

I agree that if the Packers wanted to go “all out “ in 2020 they wouldn’t have taken Love. That makes good sense. But I see all these good holdovers from the Thompson roster becoming high dollar FAs after the season so I think this year might be our best shot. Certainly the team is going to look really different in two years on offense and I see Gutekunsts roster, not many Thompson guys left. Maybe none.

We went 6-0 last year in the division. If we can win our division again this season we’re in business and I don’t see any big need to add a receiver to do that. If we really, really, really, really want to add a starter, there are other positions that would probably more helpful.

And his agent is Drew Rodenthouse. Why would anybody would want to spend time with this guy? Particularly if you are trying to get something important and difficult done.?

So, no to Njoku or any other receivers. We’ve got what we need there

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stockholder's picture

July 07, 2020 at 07:59 am

Need? The packers Need money first. Best fit is your Fantasy team.

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Razer's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:34 am

Too funny.

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taarons420's picture

July 07, 2020 at 08:08 am

"...so this would be general manager Brian Gutekunst's mulligan..."

This statement made me chuckle.
It infers that Gutekunst KNOWS he made an error by not acquiring more "weapons" this off season, and should be looking for ways to rectify that error.

Fans need to come to grips with the fact that Gutekunst feels the skill position players currently on the squad are sufficient.

The amount of fan (and media) angst created by the Packers not drafting Denzel freakin' Mims or Michael gosh darn Pittman is comical.

Everyone would "feel better" if the Packers would have just drafted a wr... any wr.

So dumb.

PS - Njoku can't block. He's a big WR. If there's one thing the Packers have enough of, it's big WR's.

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Bure9620's picture

July 07, 2020 at 08:36 am

He could help, he is in his 4th year of a rookie deal and a 5th year option. Part of acquiring Njoku will necessitate that team offering a 2nd contract. If the Packers did this, they will likely also have to part with all or most of their upcoming FAs. Maybe sign Clark and let Bahk, Lindsley, King walk or let them all walk. Their is no way he could be a 2 year rental or Njoku will be more disgruntled than he is now. Maybe also releasing Billy Turner next offseason would help as well. Kenny Clark is due a monster deal and I do not see how the Packers get this done while also signing Njoku......Don't get me wrong, I like Njoku, liked him out of college but just not seeing how that works.

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Lphill's picture

July 07, 2020 at 08:45 am

Probably the Patriots will be all over him.

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gkarl's picture

July 07, 2020 at 08:52 am

It always fun to talk about various "shiny new objects" especially this time of year but most here realize this is not going to happen. The SC room we do have will be spent on keeping what we can of our own not on someone else's problem child.

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Since'61's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:15 am

If we do sign Njoku we will be able to put 5 TEs on the field together. Maybe that is MLFs new offense for 2020.
I would prefer to stay clear of this guy. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Razer's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:37 am

We have TE fever and no amount of cowbell is going to change that. Totally agree with your take and I'll add that his agent, Rosenhause, may be the bigger reason to steer clear.

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dobber's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:49 am

Anyone who deftly sneaks in the cowbell gets a cookie!

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Since'61's picture

July 07, 2020 at 11:25 am

Razer - Excellent point about his agent! Thanks, Since ‘61

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PeteK's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:18 am

We need a DT much more than a TE.

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Razer's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:39 am

True, true, true. I still don't get how we plan on changing the scenario on defense if our D-line is Kenny Clark and ???

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taarons420's picture

July 07, 2020 at 10:50 am

I may be an idiot... but I don't think the problem was the players... I think it was a combo of poor scheme and poor execution. I feel that the group of Smith, Smith, Gary, Lowry, Clark, Lancaster, Keke, Kirksey is more than capable of slowing down any run game with disciplined/smart play. Teams with less talent have performed better against the run. You don't need stars across the board. You need smart play and cohesion between teammates. Everyone doing their job.

The SF playoff game left an, understandably, bad taste in everyone's mouth.
That whole game was a disaster from the word "go".
No one was going to beat SF on that day.
Red Hot.

The Packers can stop the run with the players they have if they were to make it a priority... and that's the key.

This is the NFL.
Can't stop everything.

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greengold's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:57 am

No.

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Handsback's picture

July 07, 2020 at 10:03 am

Taarons420 said it right...he's not even a fair blocker as a TE. So if he's not a blocker...will you put him WR room?
He would be just a pass catching TE, and not sure that fits the Packer's scheme.

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Archie's picture

July 07, 2020 at 07:11 pm

They thought Jimmy Graham did.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 07, 2020 at 10:28 am

This is the 3rd article in a row that should definitely have Cory sent to the 'corner' for a timeout.

First it was totally cherry picking comments from Brett Favre out of context to make it appear he was suggesting something that he clearly wasn't if you read his ENTIRE comments. (click bait)

Then it was an article trying to make a huge deal about Love's contract being fully guaranteed, and how it "totally changed the narrative", when in reality it changed nothing. (click bait)

Now an article about signing a disgruntled player coming off a wrist injury with obvious attitude issues, whose numbers are indistinguishable from Jimmy Graham: 56/639/11.4/4 vs. 55/636/11.6/2 from 2018.

I love CHTV, but I think I'll pass on any future articles from Mr. Jennerjohn.

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gkarl's picture

July 07, 2020 at 01:13 pm

13

Your opinion and your you are certainly entitled to do as you please. I don't necessarily agree with Cory either but he has an opinion as well and is free to write what he wants. I just try to remember that all the writers here post for our enjoyment/entertainment and I'm thankful for all the content even if it is click bate.

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CuttySnark85's picture

July 07, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Honest question: has there ever been a dominate TE that was a free agent acquisition for GB? Back to Keith Jackson who was successful with 10 TDs and made the pro bowl in 1996 yet only started 5 games? What I’m delaying to (which has no merit other than superstition... ) is that maybe the packers should avoid a free agent TE based on the fact that they seem to have next to no success in GB while continuing the development of their young guys under the tutelage of the Big Dog.

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Brad.S's picture

July 07, 2020 at 07:50 pm

No thanks on the Cleveland TE. I'd rather have Sternberger, who might turn out to be a legit star, and the new 3rd round TE was drafted to be a complementary-type TE to Sternberger. Why bring in a guy who doesn't really have a place on the team? I understand that Njoku has potential as a TE, but the Packers already have that. The salary hit could cost them Kevin King or Aaron Jones, both of whom I'd much rather have, and throw away a 5th rounder too. That's before even getting into the potential locker room issues that other comments have mentioned.

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packerbacker-53's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:41 pm

Once again I will say that offense was not our issue last year. At times it went dormant, but The Rodge will take care of it when the time arises. A TE with an attitude issue drop issues reminds me of a guy...Jermichael Finley. While the talent may be there, why bother. Wanna make another move in free agency at a low cost? Clay Matthews and Everson Griffin are still available. Those 2 guys on our defense along with the Kirksey addition really ought to fix the run defense problem. DEFENSE was why they lost against the niners. Get those 2 guys and boom.

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Grover's picture

July 09, 2020 at 07:38 am

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CoachDino's picture

July 10, 2020 at 04:18 am

All I hear is how much cap trouble the Packers are in for 2021 and the last point was how they are in good shape bececause " The only Players the Packers ave to sign are..."
So a malcontent with bad hands etc is more important than King, Jones, Williams,Linsey and possibly others?

Maybe so - but man that's a risk of Asset allocation of a medium amount but who's to say this guy won't be wanting a better contract in 2021 himself?

Can this guy Block? He will need to be a blocking TE. The Speed and Athletic ability at TE has already been drastically upgraded over last year with Jace.

I agree that you are very level headed, maybe this guy is better than he's shown. Youre right a 1st rd talent for a 5th rd Draft Pick is a steal IF he performs. Who are you taking the snaps away from? Jace or Lewis? Im not paying my 3rd to 4th string TE that kind of money.

That all said if they trade for him I'm thinking he's a game changer and with Jace and him in the 12 that's a dangerous duo.

If he's a hell of a blocker would one be willing to cut Mercedes this year?

Thanks for driving the convo...

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