In 2021, the Jets got limited receiving production from their tight ends as five players who played the position only caught a combined 50 passes.
New York needs to find a TE who can take on the starring role, and one possible fit is soon-to-be free agent David Njoku from the Cleveland Browns.
Since entering the league in 2017, Njoku has put up decent numbers. The former first-rounder has caught 148 passes (240 targets) for 1,754 yards (11.9 avg.) and 15 touchdowns over his career.
His per-catch-average specifically shows he has effectively been able to stretch the field either with his hands or with his speed picking up yardage after the catch.
Adding such a player into the mix in New York could only help quarterback Zach Wilson who does best throwing shorter passes.
Njoku’s numbers in Cleveland did not blow anyone away this past season. His yardage ranked 22nd amongst his peer-group while splitting time with big-ticket free agent acquisition Austin Hooper.
However, don’t expect such domestic production to diminish his value according to Pro Football Focus. They have Njoku ranked as the 43rd best free agent available and project him to land a three-year deal worth $37.5 million dollars.
The Jets definitely could swing that $12.5 million per year number as they expected to have roughly $48.5 million available in cap space (overthecap.com).
Njoku might be ready to move on from Cleveland as well. There were rumblings of him demanding a trade in 2020 and in 2021, it looked like he has taken somewhat of a backseat to Hooper.
Njoku is an unusual athlete, who has the speed to win. He has a dynamic feel to him.
The Jets passing game production ranked 26th in 2021 and they could stand to add a dynamic player who can help move that meter.
David Njoku Scouting Report
6-foot-4, 246 yards
2021 game film reviewed: (10/10) LAC, (11/14) NE and (11/21) DET
Grade: B- (good player who is not elite, but he is good enough to win with)
Athletic complete tight end with speed and decent hands who is a functional run blocker. Lines up in the slot or in tight to the formation. Sometimes motions pre-snap. Excels running routes in the short to intermediate levels. Posts up well short range. Makes himself available and can work back to the passer, but route running can get undisciplined at times. Decent hands, but can have lapse of concentration and drop some he should not. Can double clutch. Uses frame well to box out defenders to secure. If not tackled right away, he can be off to the races. Competitive after receptions. Showed stiff-arm. Can pick up big chunks of yardage. As a run blocker he works at it and does the job most of the time. Solid at holding the point and helping to seal off the edge. Can get fired up and show emotion. Has some playmaking capability to his game.
Njoku has been an intriguing player who has not completely lived up to his billing. However, the ability is there.
His projected price-tag may be a little high. It could also prove to be on the high-side given Njoku’s 2021 production, but only time will tell when the clock strikes free agency.
Call me crazy, but I can see Njoku in a Jets’ uniform.
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