With Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku requesting a trade, the Cincinnati Bengals should do their best to make sure he doesn’t leave Ohio.
When a notable NFL player asks for a trade, it’s really easy for people to say a certain team should acquire him right away, but good fits are not always obvious. With seven tight ends on the roster already, the Bengals and David Njoku seem like an odd match at first.
However, beyond Drew Sample and C.J. Uzomah, it is difficult to say anyone at that position is safe in terms of a roster spot. Also, say what you will about Zac Taylor’s offensive system not using the tight end as a pass-catcher much. But whether its Travis Kelce in Kansas City, George Kittle in San Francisco, or Zach Ertz in Philadelphia, most of the teams that are good on a year in and year out basis have a legitimate receiving threat at tight end.
Uzomah and Sample are fine blockers and that is important. Still, Uzomah has been a pro since 2015 and has had just one season with over 40 catches. Sample had just five catches as a rookie last year. Defensive coordinators may lose sleep over containing Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Auden Tate, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and A.J. Green, but not the current tight end duo.
This is where Njoku could really help Cincinnati. He is just 23 and entered the league in 2017. Injuries have limited him to just over a single season’s worth of starts. He has just 13 fewer career grabs than Uzomah.
Njoku’s blend of size and athleticism would give the Bengals another weapon in the passing game that defenses would be forced to account for. Compensation is always tough to gauge. There is a report that Dallas may be willing to give up a first-round pick for the former Miami Hurricane. That may be a bit steep, but Cincinnati should still seriously explore trading for Njoku.