Cleveland Browns use franchise tag on TE David Njoku

The Cleveland Browns placed the franchise tag on tight end David Njoku on Monday, the team announced.

The deadline for teams to designate franchise players is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

The Browns and Njoku now have until July 15 to agree to a long-term contract or he will play the 2022 season on his franchise tender, which is worth $10.931 million, per a memo obtained by ESPN.

Njoku, 25, has totaled 148 receptions in five seasons with the Browns, including 36 for 475 yards and four touchdowns last season.

His best season came during quarterback Baker Mayfield's rookie year in 2018, when he hauled in a career-best 56 catches for 639 yards. After being targeted 88 times that season, Njoku's production has rapidly decreased over the past three seasons.

In the summer of 2020, Njoku changed agents and requested a trade from Cleveland. But after the beginning of training camp, he rescinded the request.

Njoku, who was selected with the 29th overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Browns, was paid $6.01 million last season after the team exercised his fifth-year option.

Even with the tag being placed on Njoku, the Browns' plan is to keep fellow tight end Austin Hooper, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Hooper is due $9.5 million in salary in the third year of a four-year deal.