CLEVELAND — After expressing his desire to remain in Cleveland, the Browns obliged and placed a franchise tag on tight end David Njoku, keeping him in orange and brown while the organization and Njoku's representation continue talks of a long-term deal.
Njoku was set to become a free agent, but as he mentioned earlier in the year, he wanted to re-sign with the Browns.
"I love it here. I love it here to the core. I honestly want to be here for the rest of my career," he said in January.
The 2017 first-round pick played in 16 games last season and recorded 36 receptions for 475 yards and four touchdowns. His impact to the success of the team was undeniable last season and the efforts he put into his growth as a receiver and a blocker were evident as the season progressed.
Njoku's desire to remain in Cleveland was rekindled after rejoining his previous representation Malki Kawa and First Round Management.
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The Browns had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to use a franchise tag on a player.
By placing a franchise tag on him, Njoku is protected from hitting the unrestricted free-agency market. The move to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Njoku will cost the Browns a around $10.8 million.
Now that Njoku's been franchise tagged, Kawa and the Browns front office will continue to discuss the potential for a long-term deal. The two sides have until July 15 to reach a new multi-year deal, or Njoku will play out the season on the tag.
The Njoku tag was not the only move the Browns made Monday, also tendering three exclusive rights free agents.
Cleveland tendered wide receiver Ja'Marcus Bradley, guard Michael Dunn and offensive lineman Blake Hance.
Bradley has appeared in eight games for the Browns since joining the team in 2020. Dunn started two games at right guard and played in 14 games last season, and Hance, or as many fans call him "A guy named Blake" played in all 17 games last season, starting in eight games as the team managed several injuries along the offensive line.
The Browns can still place tenders on players still in question, like running back D'Ernest Johnson, with the league deadline to do so until March 16 at 4 p.m.
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