*UPDATE (6:54 p.m. ET): David Njoku took to Twitter to refute the report of his trade request.
I did not say anything to Mary Kay about a trade request
— Chief David Njoku (@David_Njoku80) October 19, 2020
ORIGINAL STORY: The New England Patriots have several roster needs worth addressing before the Nov. 3 NFL trade deadline, and one of them is tight end.
Could David Njoku of the Cleveland Browns be a potential target for the Patriots?
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported Monday, citing a league source, that Njoku still wants the Browns to trade him.
Cabot also added: "To this point, the Browns haven’t been willing to trade him, but they might be open to it if someone makes them an offer they can’t refuse. The Browns need help at linebacker, safety and cornerback, and could possibly pick up a starter to help out down the stretch."
Njoku has not made much of an impact for the Browns during the 2020 season. He's tallied just five receptions on seven targets for 63 yards and a touchdown in three games. The 2017 first-round draft pick is in his fourth year with the Browns. His best season in Cleveland came in 2018, when he set career highs with 56 receptions, 639 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
The Patriots are getting almost no offensive production from tight ends through six games.
Ryan Izzo is the only tight end on the Patriots roster who has caught a pass in 2020. He has six receptions for 82 yards and zero touchdowns on 11 targets. Izzo had season highs with three receptions and 38 receiving yards in Sunday's Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos, but he also lost a fumble after one of those catches.
The Patriots spent two third-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft to address the tight end position. New England selected UCLA's Devin Asiasi and Virginia Tech's Dalton Keene with those selections. Neither player has tallied a single reception so far.
It's possible Keene and/or Asiasi could make an impact in the future, but it would be foolish to expect either player to emerge as a real threat in the passing game this season.
If Njoku could be acquired for the right price, the Patriots absolutely should explore that option.