The Washington Football Team enters training camp with multiple question marks on its roster, but none are more glaring than tight end.
When free agency began in March, many expected Washington to chase after the top tight end on the market in Austin Hooper. But after Hooper signed with the Cleveland Browns, many wondered what the future held for current Browns starter David Njoku.
In July, Njoku had asked Cleveland for a trade, and Washington seemed like a potential destination. However, the chance for Washington to acquire the 24-year-old appears to be in the rearview mirror. Nearly a month after his initial request, Njoku has walked back on his ask for a trade and tweeted he is “all in Cleveland.”
Im all in Cleveland. Time to work.
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) August 1, 2020
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Even with the arrival of Hooper and fourth-round pick Harrison Bryant, Njoku should still have a role within the Cleveland offense.
The Browns have a new head coach in Kevin Stefanski, who was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator a season ago. In Minnesota, Stefanski’s offense operated out of the ’12 personnel’ (one running back, two tight ends) 34% of the time, which was the second-highest mark in the league. On Friday, Stefanski directly stated Njoku’s name as players he’s excited to work with.
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While a coaching change may bode well for Njoku in Cleveland, Washington will have to look in a different direction for help at the position.
The Burgundy and Gold have overhauled the tight end group this offseason. In free agency, they signed two veterans in Richard Rodgers and Logan Thomas. After not addressing the unit with one of their eight selections in the NFL Draft, Washington quickly signed former LSU star Thaddeus Moss after he went undrafted. The team returns Jeremy Sprinkle and Hale Hentges from last season, too.
Since taking over as Washington’s head coach in January, Ron Rivera has stressed the need for competition at every position.
While the tight end unit lacks a proven star, the head coach is hoping the internal competition will bring the best out of an otherwise weak position group. Otherwise, it’ll be another year of little production from the tight end unit in Washington.
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