As first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Cleveland Browns have placed the franchise tag on TE David Njoku. The Browns confirmed the move shortly after.
Per Over the Cap, this year’s franchise tag number for a tight end is projected to be about $10.834 million, which is the lowest amount for a non-special teams player. The moves makes sense for Cleveland, considering the deadline for utilizing the franchise tag is tomorrow. Reports indicated that they have been offering Njoku a deal north of $10 million per year, so rather than risking him hitting the free agent market, this (in a worst-case scenario) keeps him with the Browns for at least one more season at the same value they were negotiating anyway.
However, the belief is that this is not the end of the road, and that Cleveland will continue trying to reach a long-term extension with Njoku. This probably nudges Njoku to agree to such an extension, because it’s risky for any player to go through a contract year and hope they stay injury-free, when they could’ve just accepted a long-term deal that was right in front of them.