Baker Mayfield is still recovering from surgery on his left shoulder and it may be a while before he’s able to play football again. That means the Browns will have to find other options at tight end until they’re healthy, which could take time.
The “who didn t make the browns roster” is a question that many Browns fans have been asking. The answer is Baker Mayfield.
The Cleveland Browns are doing all they can to resurrect their offense. Baker Mayfield is under greater scrutiny than ever, and with Odell Beckham Jr.’s departure, whispers have circulated that Jarvis Landry might be fired as well.
The Browns chose to apply the franchise tag on tight end David Njoku ahead of the March 8 franchise tag deadline in an unusual move. The Browns beat the deadline and are now negotiating with Njoku on a long-term contract that benefits both sides.
The Browns, on the other hand, have committed $20 million to the tight end position as a whole, which may not be the assistance Mayfield is looking for.
The Browns have committed to spending $20 million on tight ends in 2022.
The #Browns made Austin Hooper the highest paid TE in the league in 2020 when they gave him a $44 million contract while already having David Njoku on the roster.
With the tag, Njoku now becomes their franchise player. https://t.co/Aoig6aWIOb
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 7, 2022
The Browns’ tight end room remains congested with the addition of Njoku. Harrison Bryant and Austin Hooper are also on the team.
The Browns signed Hooper to a four-year, $42 million contract in the 2020 offseason, which was surprising at the time. That decision is still debatable two years later, and the Browns’ decision to place the tag on Njoku and attempt to work out a long-term contract with him just adds to their confusion.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Browns have no intention of releasing Hooper.
Despite David Njoku’s $10.9 million franchise tag, I’m told the Browns want to retain Austin Hooper and David Njoku. In the third year of a four-year contract, Hooper will earn $9.5 million in pay.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 8, 2022
That’s all there is to it. In 2022, Hooper will earn $9.5 million, while Njoku will get $10.9 million thanks to the franchise tag — and he might earn much more if they agree to a new deal.
What are the Browns up to these days? Nobody knows, but actions like these aren’t going to bring Mayfield over the hump.
Baker Mayfield’s tight end choices aren’t precisely what he needs to achieve.
Stacy Revere/ Nick Cammett/ Frank Jansky/ Getty Images/ Diamond Images via Getty Images/ Icon Sportswire via Getty Images | Baker Mayfield, David Njoku, and Austin Hooper | Stacy Revere/ Nick Cammett/ Frank Jansky/ Getty Images/ Diamond Images via Getty Images/ Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The jury is still out on whether Mayfield is the right man for the job in Cleveland. The Browns are committed to him until 2022, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, but aren’t working on an extension.
As a result, Mayfield will have to do well this season. If not, it might be the end of his time with the Browns and the end of his career as a starter in the NFL.
Mayfield’s NFL career has been hit or miss, and he took a step back in 2021. Here are his stats since being selected first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft:
- 2018: 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions
- 2019: 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions
- 2020: 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, and eight interceptions
- 2021: 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions
Mayfield’s statistics were the poorest of his career, despite the fact that he only started 14 games due to injury. Nonetheless, these aren’t first-round pick stats, and the Browns have every reason to be wary given the current market for quarterbacks.
So, why did Njoku and Hooper be paid a total of $20 million? Neither player has shown to be a genuine danger in the passing game, and their 2021 stats were disappointing.
- Njoku has 36 receptions for 475 yards and four touchdowns.
- Hooper has 38 receptions for 345 yards and three touchdowns.
Those aren’t exactly eye-catching. To be fair, Njoku and Hooper were third and fourth in receiving yards, respectively. But that’s not saying much, considering Donovan Peoples-Jones led the team with just 597 yards.
For Cleveland, Zach Ertz would have been a better short-term option, and he may have cost the same amount as Njoku this season under the tag.
Except for standout running back Nick Chubb, the Browns’ offensive line is in desperate need of a makeover. However, spending $20 million on Njoku and Hooper makes little sense and makes Mayfield’s situation much more difficult.
By nailing the 2022 NFL Draft and free agency, the team can turn things around on offense.
Landry’s fate is still up in the air, and the Browns may save a lot of money by selling or releasing him. However, if they do so, they will need to find someone to take his position.
Garrett Wilson is the player shown in the image above, courtesy of Pro Football Focus. Mayfield would get a breath of new air with the outstanding wide receiver from Ohio State, who would offer him a real No. 1 WR, something they hoped for when Odell Beckham Jr. arrived in Cleveland a few years ago.
Furthermore, the Browns must sign someone in free agency. Michael Gallup is working on a new contract with the Dallas Cowboys, while Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, and Mike Williams have all remained with their respective clubs.
Is Amari Cooper a viable choice for the Cavaliers? The Browns have little option but to surround Mayfield with great weapons, even if it will be pricey.
The Browns’ next several weeks will be crucial, and the NFL Draft in 2022 will be another crucial few days. The defense has a lot of talent, but the offense has to be revitalized. Despite the fact that Cleveland spent $20 million for Njoku and Hooper, it will not be the move that propels them to the top.
Mayfield has to be concerned.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: Browns Buy More Time to Tag David Njoku on Big Contract
The “browns tight ends 2021 depth chart” is a confusing commitment from the Browns. The team has given $20 million to a tight end, but it doesn’t seem promising for Baker Mayfield.
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