Why the 49ers should Trade for David Njoku
Another excellent player might force his way off his team and wind up on the 49ers.
First, Jets safety Jamal Adams requested a trade and listed the 49ers as a preferred destination. Now, Browns tight end David Njoku has requested a trade, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Browns don’t want to trade Njoku -- they picked up his fifth-year option just this offseason. But they also signed free agent tight end Austin Hooper to a four-year, $42 million contract, meaning Hooper will start and Njoku probably won’t play as much as he’d like. So he wants out.
Should the 49ers trade for him?
The 49ers have a Super Bowl window that could close after next season -- they will have 26 unrestricted free agents in 2021. They need to do everything possible to win the Super Bowl in 2020. And Njoku would help.
Njoku is an excellent athlete. The Browns took him with the 29th pick in 2017, the same year the 49ers drafted Kittle in Round 5. Those two would make an elite tandem, even better than the Buccaneers’ tandem of Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard.
And Njoku is relatively cheap. He would cost the 49ers just $1.7 million in 2020, and $6 million in 2021. They could afford to pay him and Kittle and, say, Jamal Adams, if they were to trade for him.
Njoku caught just five passes in 2019 -- he missed most of the season with a broken wrist. But in 2018, when he was just 22, he caught 56 passes for 639 yards and 4 touchdowns. He likely would catch lots of passes on the 49ers, because they lost starting wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason, and Deebo Samuel currently has a broken foot. The 49ers could feature two-tight end formations.
Considering Njoku’s injury history and his trade demand, the Browns have very little leverage. So the 49ers probably could get him for a fourth-round pick and a player such as Dante Pettis or Solomon Thomas.
Tell me one good reason the 49ers shouldn’t make this trade, because I can’t think of one.