Reason #2: Not giving up draft capital
Njoku would likely cost the LA Chargers somewhere between a 3rd and 5th round pick. Clay is an undrafted free agent. It’s pretty simple math there. Whenever a team can retain draft capital by finding a better option, they should.
It goes without saying that Njoku certainly has potential. He’s only 23 years old and could still develop. On the other hand, he’s also going into his fourth year and we’re still talking about the several question marks that always pop up in his game.
Henry has never been a great blocker, but Njoku’s blocking makes Henry look like Rob Gronkowski. The drop rate is also still too high. When he last played a season in 2018, Njoku had the worst drop rate in the league at 12.5%.
All of that is to say that sure, Njoku has potential, but how many guys really improve significantly when they’re already in their fourth season? Plus, when it comes to tight ends, analysts generally think the 2021 class is pretty good anyway.
Why pay draft capital for one year of Njoku when the Chargers could just take someone like Matt Bushman or Brevin Jordan in the mid-rounds next year? Four years of a cheap contract does sound better than a 1+team option with Njoku.
It’s important to have cheap and controllable contracts when so many Chargers are free agents in 2021. The team should have as many rookie contracts as possible when considering that they have to pay Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Keenan Allen, Henry, and maybe a few others.