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Cleveland Browns place franchise tag on David Njoku

Matt Johnson
Cleveland Browns, David Njoku
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are placing the franchise tag on David Njoku, retaining their top tight end for the 2022 NFL season.

Cleveland made retaining Njoku one of its top priorities this offseason, wanting to reward the 6-foot-4 offensive weapon for his improvements in 2021. The 2022 franchise tag for tight ends is projected at $10.834 million, per OvertheCap.com, making Njoku one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL next season.

According to Ian Rapoport, Njoku and the Browns are discussing a long-term extension. While the specifics of a potential contract aren’t known, both sides intend for the tag to be a placeholder leading to an eventual multi-year extension.

Njoku played in 16 games this past season, finishing with 475 receiving yards and 17 first downs. Just over a year after he seemed to be on the outs in Cleveland, the 29th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft is now blossoming into an integral part of the Browns’ offense.

Given Cleveland’s offseason plans to spend, tight end Austin Hooper ($13.25 million cap hit) could be a potential cap casualty.