The Jacksonville Jaguars are aware their tight end room needs “to be rebuilt in some ways” this offseason. However, the free-agent market is not particularly thrilling and they may not have a shot at drafting Kyle Pitts in 2021’s selection meeting, so trading for a tight end this offseason could be an option. Specifically, should the Jags trade for David Njoku?
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report suggests the Jaguars trade a fourth-round selection in 2021 for Njoku. He says the Miami product hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing and that a change of scenery could be the best thing that could happen to his young football career. On the other hand, Kay sees the Jaguars’ need at tight end and the fact both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry will be highly coveted in free agency as reasons why they should pull the trigger.
Kay later points out that tight end is a “notoriously difficult position to find immediate success to at”, and says that the Jaguars could be better off trading for Njoku than taking a tight end prospect in the draft.
Would this be a good trade for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Njoku, the 29th overall pick in 2017’s draft, has appeared in 49 games with 25 starts, and has hauled in 112 receptions for 1,279 yards and 11 touchdowns over his four-year career. Although he started all 16 games in his first two seasons, he’s dealt with injuries and missed 15 games in the last two.
If availability is the best ability, the Jaguars may consider passing up the chance to trade for Njoku, as it’s uncertain whether his injury streak will stop this year. Also, there’s the fact Njoku is set to make $6 million in 2021. There will be other tight ends in the open market that are healthier than him and have better production than his 24 receptions for 254 yards and three touchdowns in the last two years.
Tight Jared Cook is still playing at a high level and the Jaguars wouldn’t need to part ways with any draft picks. There’s also Gerald Everett, who has caught 78 receptions for 825 yards and three touchdowns in the last two years and is projected to sign a three-year $15 million contract this offseason.
There are simply cheaper and better alternatives than trading for Njoku this offseason. He could end up becoming the playmaker the Browns thought he was. However, the Jaguars don’t need to find out whether he will finally turn the corner and should refrain from trading for him.