Tight end is one of the lesser positions that the LA Chargers have to address this offseason. Jared Cook is a free agent after signing a one-year deal with the team last offseason and seeing his regression and drop problem in 2021 prompts a change of pace at the position.
The Bolts have an elite blocker in Tre' McKitty but he has not shown enough to be trusted as a reliable pass-catching tight end. The team can also bring back Donald Parham, who is an exclusive rights free agent, on a minimum deal while Stephen Anderson can test the open market. The most realistic scenario is Parham and McKitty returning but the Bolts would still need some more juice at tight end.
One potential target for the Chargers that was really exciting to some fans (including myself) is David Njoku. Njoku is an explosive athlete with good hands while being a good blocker. His overall numbers have not been high because of his situation but he has all the makings of being really good in Jared Cook's role on this Chargers offense.
Unfortunately, Njoku no longer makes sense as a target for the LA Chargers after the latest report from Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. According to Cabot (subscription required), the Browns could be on their way to offering Njoku a $10 million+ salary:
"The Browns definitely want him back, and are prepared to pay him the double-digit millions he’ll get on the open market."
David Njoku is now too pricey for the LA Chargers.
As big of a fan of Njoku as I am, it does not make a lot of sense for the LA Chargers to pay him $10+ million per season. While the team does have cap space and could stretch it to $100 million if Tom Telesco was really aggressive, there are more pressing needs on the team that should be spent on. The Chargers can address what they need at tight end to complement Parham and McKitty for cheaper.
As good as Njoku is, I would not put him ahead of Hunter Henry, who is one of the best two-way tight ends in the league. While his overall numbers still weren't eye-popping, Henry was one of the most reliable red-zone targets in the league in 2021 and was one of the best tight ends in getting open against man coverage.
It is hard to see the Chargers refusing to pay Hunter Henry when they could have last offseason only to pay Njoku essentially the exact same amount. Njoku has missed 16 total games over the last three seasons, Henry missed 22 in his last three years in LA (two were missed because of COVID-19). Njoku has similar "injury concerns" as Henry did last offseason, so that is not even justification.
If the Chargers are willing to shell out the money to sign David Njoku then it shows what they thought of Hunter Henry last offseason. However, it is more likely that David Njoku is no longer a viable option for LA.