Three reasons why the 49ers won’t trade for Tight End David Njoku
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan entertained the idea of adding Pro-Bowl tight end Austin Hooper this offseason. That doesn’t mean the 49ers are desperate for a tight end behind George Kittle.
Simply put, David Njoku is not Hooper.
There’s a reason the Cleveland Browns went out and signed Hooper to a 4-year deal including $23 million guaranteed. No team makes that much of a financial commitment when you already have weapons like Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt on the offensive side of the ball. Between the two tight ends, Njoku has an 8% drop rate while Hooper sits at 4%.
Why strip the cap space and a Day 2 pick on a second-string tight end?
Yes, Njoku’s deal is relatively considered “team friendly” over the next two seasons. His cap hit over the next two seasons is sitting at $3,030,714 in 2020 and $6,013,000 in 2021. To acquire Njoku it will most likely take a Day 2 pick in the 2021 draft. The 49ers wouldn’t just lose solid draft capital in a deal they would also block the 2021 cap space by $6,013,000. That cap space would be ideally a better use on players like K’Wuan Williams, DJ Jones, or just saving it, in general, to distribute in Kittle extension.
Njoku wouldn’t improve the 49ers Super Bowl odds.
Yes, Njoku is a world-class athlete playing tight end, that is undeniable. As it sits right now, Ross Dwelley is a better run blocker than David Njoku has shown to be. Let’s not forgot sixth-round pick Charlie Woerner is projected to be a lot better run blocker than both Dwelley and Njoku. In 2019, any tight end not named Kittle only saw 22 targets all season. That’s less than two targets a game. Why would Njoku be happy in San Francisco to only see a potential of 2-3 targets a game? Those unappreciated targets to Njoku may be a better fit for guys like Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, Jalen Hurd, or even Trent Taylor.
Winning can fix some things, like with the Jamal Adams situation.
When it comes to Njoku’s situation something tells me winning isn’t everything.
The Super Bowl window is now, but the 2-3 projected targets a game for Njoku wouldn’t make this team any closer to a Lombardi.