Why the 49ers should Trade for David Njoku

Grant Cohn

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?

Why not?

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.

Comments (8)
No. 1-8
BeBold
BeBold

Bad idea. DS broken foot will likely be set to g early in the DELAYED season - that is if there is one. RM has demanded a trade. Based on his performance last season, and the need for KS to have a balanced offence, Mostert needs to get paid Coleman money - he earned it. There is no guarantee that this trade would work out. Paying Mostert has the highest probability for successful use of cap space.

coachtj
coachtj

....Grant Cohn is still employed?

bbruneauca
bbruneauca

I do not agree with you on this, but more importantly you allowed a contrary position to be posted. Very cool, very open, and negates a lot of Grant criticism IMO. Really like the activity and diversity in the reporting. SI kicked in with a platform with good technology and bandwidth, a real hinderance at PD.
Your presentation is very good, you are offering consistently reasonable opinions, and are quite willing to admit when you are wrong. I consult this SI site last, sort of like dessert. Well done Grant.

TommyKnockers
TommyKnockers

Pettis and Ndjoku as a swap makes both teams better. Maybe a 7th rounder but no more. At what point do the team need to horde the draft capital to smooth the loss of so much talent next year? What really is the right way to divide your cap space? How do you persuade players to want to take a pay cut in order to win? Id love to get both Adams and Ndjoku but does it put the Niners more out of contention in subsequent years?

ted123
ted123

solomon thomas is a way better dt than njoku is a te but trading a late round pick for njoku or an even later pick and pettis if the browns would value pettis enough would make the 49ers better in 2020. he is not worth 6 million so they would have to trade or cut him in 2021

Mitchell Alan
Mitchell Alan

Make this really good. Get Njoku, yes.

Then throw in Pettis AND Thomas, and maybe CJ Beathard, too.

Niner4life41
Niner4life41

I’m all in for trading for Njoku. He was a beast when he was healthy 2 years ago. Lynch was interested in trading for Evan Engram this offseason. They clearly want a TE2 to take the pressure off Kittle. Njoku and Kittle could be a matchup nightmare for teams to deal with. I know they just drafted Woerner from Georgia but he looks like a blocking TE. Njoku is a threat that could take this offense to another level.

Sscl
Sscl

One reason is you would have to give up more for someone to take pettis or thomas haha! But if shanahan is the next belechek then, kittle is going. You cant pay a te as m7ch as he wants and the picks help in the future. That assumed the nfl even exists after 2021. What do the looters going to beverly hills to eat the rich, say to guys getting millions on millions for playing a game?


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