On Friday, tight end David Njoku requested the Browns trade him, agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN.
"It is in David's best interest to find a new team at this time," Rosenhaus told the network's Adam Schefter.
Neither Rosenhaus nor the Browns immediately responded to the Beacon Journal's requests for comment.
According to Schefter's report, the Browns told Njoku they would like to keep him, but Rosenhaus told the team Njoku is intent on a trade. The Njoku camp wants a deal before training camp, per the report. Browns veterans are scheduled to report to camp July 28 in Berea, barring a change related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new Browns regime led by general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski acquired two tight ends this offseason. The team signed two-time Pro Bowler Austin Hooper to a four-year, $42 million contract in March and then drafted Harrison Bryant in the fourth round (No. 115 overall) in April.
But even after Hooper and Bryant were added, the Browns publicly praised Njoku and insisted they envisioned a significant role for him in a tight end-heavy offense. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Minnesota Vikings had two tight ends on the field 57% of the time during Stefanski's tenure as their offensive coordinator, a role he held for all of last season and the final three games of 2018.
"Our perspective remains the same. I have been pretty consistent this offseason in terms of we still have a ton of belief in David," Berry said April 25 after drafting Bryant. "He's very talented. Obviously, he was not on the field much last year, but he's a guy with outstanding physical tools, he has proven NFL production and we still think the future is very bright with him here. David has always been and continues to be in our plans, and we're going to continue to add competition all across the roster."
Berry backed up the endorsement by exercising the fifth-year option on Njoku's rookie contract on April 27. Njoku is under contract for two more seasons. He's set to make a base salary of $1,763,910 in 2020 and about $6 million in 2021.
In May, Njoku and Hooper were among the Browns players who joined Baker Mayfield for group workouts in the quarterback's hometown of Austin, Texas.
Berry was the Browns' vice president of player personnel in 2017, when they drafted Njoku 29th overall.