NFL notebook: Browns exercise fifth-year options on Garrett, Njoku

New York Jets v Cleveland Browns

Myles Garrett

The Cleveland Browns have exercised the 2021 fifth-year options on DE Myles Garrett and TE David Njoku, Mary Kay Cabot reported Monday.

Garrett was the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 and Njoku was the 29th overall pick. There was never any question that the Browns would pick up Garrett’s option, which will be the same as the transition tender for defensive ends next year — more than $16 million — but there was some doubt until recently about whether or not Njoku would be in the team’s long-range plans.

Njoku missed 10 games last season with a broken wrist that required surgery, and was a healthy scratch for two of the last four games after Freddie Kitchens lost faith in him. In four games, he caught five passes for 41 yards and one touchdown. But the Browns believe that Njoku, 23, still has plenty of upside and be a big playmaker in Kevin Stefanski’s tight-end friendly offense, which most often utilizes two tight ends and sometimes three.

In 2018, Njoku caught 56 passes for 639 yards and four touchdowns. As a rookie, he caught 32 passes for 386 yards and four TDs.

Garrett, who made the Pro Bowl in 2018, was reinstated from his indefinite suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on February 12 after he missed the final six games of last season. Garrett was indefinitely banned for removing the helmet of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and hitting him over the head with it.

–– The New England Patriots haven’t shown any interest in signing former Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton, The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported Monday.

New England, who lost quarterback Tom Brady this offseason, currently features a QB depth chart that consists of Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer. They did not draft a quarterback in this past weekend’s NFL Draft.

Also, the Patriots have informed veteran S Obi Melifonwu of his release, Field Yates has reported.

–– Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht had intel that Joe Staley was going to retire, prompting him to trade up one spot from pick No. 14 to draft Tristan Wirfs in this past weekend’s NFL Draft.

“The Staley stuff scared me,” Licht told Peter King. “The Niners could definitely be a tackle team.”

The Bucs acquired the pick from the San Francisco 49ers.

–– The Detroit Lions have released RB Tra Carson, LS James Fisher, G Casey Tucker, and P Matt Wile, the team announced Monday.

–– The Indianapolis Colts waived 2nd-year wide receiver Steve Ishmael on Monday, according to Adam Schefter.

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