ASK THE GM | Njoku & Mahomes
QUESTION: First, thank you for taking my question and I love the information on here. I am a die hard Browns fan, what do you think we should do about possibly trading tight end David Njoku? - Patrick Myers (Dayton, Ohio) Go Flyers!
First some facts. Njoku is a former first round pick (by another regime in Cleveland) in the 2017 NFL draft out of Miami. He has 93 catches including 9 TD’s thus-far in his career. His best year was 2018 when he caught 56 for 639 yards. He was injured and only played in 4 games in 2019. He has one year left on a fully guaranteed 4-year deal he signed as a rookie, so he enters the final year of that. The Browns signed a Tight End in free agency this year, Austin Hooper, from the Falcons and made him the highest paid TE in the league, they also drafted another TE in round 4 of this year’s college draft.
This trade request is totally about “business”. He wants to be “the guy” and realizes it won’t be here. I’m sure his ego is bruised because of the Hooper signing, I’m also sure his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has went to the Browns demanding an extension, to no avail. The Browns probably see him as a puzzle piece but not the “gold star” standout, especially after 2019 was pretty much a wash for David, because of injury.
I don’t think there will be much of a market for his services at this stage. Another team will not give up value for a player with one year left on a contract. The Browns realistically would be looking at a late round pick as the best they could do for compensation. Njoku has no real leverage to force the Browns to make a deal. I see this as one of those, “never hurts to ask” but probably a long shot that he gets traded. The Browns have to like the depth he provides and its worth more to them to have him serve in this role, even if it’s as a back-up, than a 5th or 6th round pick that they would get in return. There is just no motivation or reason for the Browns to do anything other than tell the player how much they want him and welcome him to the new offensive system, selling that as his best path to free agency. The only way that changes is if a starting TE gets hurt somewhere for a playoff contending team during the season. Then I could see the acquiring team giving up maybe a 5th, otherwise the Browns take their value and hope to get a compensatory pick once he leaves in free agency.
QUESTION: Randy, what do you think of Patrick's (Mahomes) extension? Has there ever been a player worth HALF A BILLION DOLLARS? - Efren Vianzon
San Diego, California
Nothing about this should surprise anyone- He was the first QB to win a league MVP, A Super Bowl and a Super Bowl MVP, all before the age of 25 so to think he was going anywhere but KC was a pipe dream. He makes the Chiefs the favorite to return and win it all again whenever that ends up being.
From an evaluation standpoint, he’s got transcendent arm talent, can throw from variable platforms, has a knack for finding open receivers and when they are not open, he throws to locations that make them open. He is not a “cigar store wooden Indian” in the pocket because he’s athletic enough to move the chains as a runner and to avoid pressure within the pocket with nifty footwork. In fact, we have all seen that he doesn’t even need to have his feet set or under him, to make almost any throw.
Depending on whose figures you subscribe to the deal is a 40-45 million, a year. The reports of 500 mil total are not realistic because of the high level of incentives needed to earn the max in the deal. It should have very little effect on the Dak Prescott or Deshaun Watson deals. Mahomes is in a class of his own when you consider his age and upside. The one exception might be that the ten-year length hurts Dak’s demand for a shorter deal.
Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL currently and its really accepted by, even the players and agents so the deal should stand as the highest average per year for the next couple years. If someone was building a team from current NFL players, he would be the first pick of virtually 32 of 32 GM’s. It gives Mahomes security but also gives the Chiefs a template for planning their own cap now for the next ten years. When you evaluate the deal, Pat probably took less in guaranteed money, than I thought he’d get. The mechanisms to the guarantees are being touted by Mahomes side but really don’t mean much because the team controls those triggers. The Chiefs, I assume, can build to the larger cap numbers as part of the deal’s structure, in hope that the league wide salary cap will be more stable eventually after the COVID-19 days are behind us. Big cap numbers won’t come into play before year 5 or 6.
Unless the NFLPA and the league can agree to escrow some of this year’s salaries or borrow from future years, the cap is going to go down significantly, next year, based on the revenues falling thru the basement for NFL owners. As of this note, the cap is a bit of a moving target for 2021 and beyond.
I’ve heard some criticism of the deal making it hard for the Chiefs to build out the rest of their team. We need to put that misnomer to bed. I’d much rather have my best player, at the most important position, under contract for the next ten years than to try and build a Super Bowl winner without that box being checked.