We discuss why trading for David Njoku makes very little sense for the Dallas Cowboys
Reports of Cleveland Browns Tight End David Njoku wanting to be traded on Friday surfaced on the internet. Immediately the Dallas Cowboys were the first name linked with the former first-round pick. Disregarding the draft capital necessary to make the transaction, does bring in Njoku make sense for the team?
The Dallas Cowboys are always in the news for one reason or another. The last three months fans have seen a shift between the Dak Prescott contract negotiations and Jamal Adams trade rumors; Friday seemed to have brought something completely different in a trade request from Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku.
The expectation was Cleveland would ask for a higher draft pick since Njoku has just completed his third season with the team, was once selected with a late first-round pick, and is only 23 years old. Those three attributes are generally good reasons for teams to pull the trigger on swapping some future assets, however, does it make sense for Dallas?
Having young tight end depth would be welcome coming into a season with a new head coach and young tight end group, which begs the question of how much would the team be willing to give up?
Cleveland has stated they want a first-round pick; that seems highly unlikely from any team but odds are this transaction will require a Day 2 draft pick.
So say the team does give a third-round or even a fourth-round pick for the services of Njoku, you now have a tight end coming into a situation where he doesn’t know when he’ll play; a situation eerily similar to the one he wants to leave. You unnecessarily created a problem and gave away an asset to create it.
With the current state of the pandemic in the United States, it will only make it harder for him to compete for viable playing time.
This is also in addition to the team just signing Blake Jarwin to a nice extension. While he is the only known commodity amongst the young tight end group, he is the only one that needs to be a known commodity. Last season, the Dallas offense ran 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) 67 percent of the time. The team used more than one TE on 22 percent of their snaps.
With the Cowboys drafting CeeDee Lamb in the first round, the percentage of 11 personnel looks will likely hover around the same number as last season. In fact, there might be an increase in 21 personnel (2 RB, 1 TE) looks hopefully with the increased integration of Tony Pollard into the offense.
All of this to say, signing Blake Jarwin to an extension only to not play him seems like a good way to frustrate a player who shows ample potential in the receiving game and has been waiting for his shot at first-team reps for more than a year.
Not only would this be a bad move from a personnel standpoint, but financially this makes very little sense as well. If the team were to trade for Njoku, his fifth-year-option would trigger, which means the team would owe him six million dollars in the 2021 season.
Playing Njoku as the premier Y TE might not make this a bad decision, but with the expectation that he doesn’t garner TE1 snaps, that means the Cowboys will be committing eleven million dollars for their TE1 and TE2 for both of them to be on the field together ten percent of all snaps.
In all, wanting Njoku is a “the grass is always greener on the other side” idea. While young, he hasn’t developed as much as many hoped this far into his career and a change in scenery might not provide that for him if he gets stuck in the exact same situation he currently is in.