After selecting fellow tight end David Njoku, the Browns have elected to cut Barnidge, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Barnidge, who turns 32 in September, will thus be looking for a new job in the wake of the team's addition of Njoku in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. Though Barnidge's 55 catches for 612 yards and two TDs last season were a drop-off from his 79/1,043/9 stat line in 2015, it's still a bit of a surprise to see the veteran tight end unceremoniously sent packing. The move clearly signifies the Browns' commitment to Njoku, a talented young pass catcher who merits immediate fantasy consideration now that Barnidge is no longer in the mix.
Barnidge will face competition from first-round selection David Njoku, Nathaniel Cline of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The Browns made Njoku their third selection of Thursday's opening round, trading up to No. 29 to select the rookie out of Miami. While he doesn't have much of a reputation for blocking, Njoku at least figures to provide Barnidge with immediate competition for targets in a part-time role on passing downs, after the 32-year-old failed to build on his breakout 2015 campaign, catching only 55 passes for 612 yards and two touchdowns on 81 targets last season.
Barnidge finished the 2016 campaign with five catches on five targets for 40 yards and a score against the Steelers on Sunday. It was a disappointing season through and through for Barnidge, as the tight end was never able to recapture his 2015 magic. After finding the end zone 10 times a season ago, Barnidge scored just twice in 2016, as the Browns had difficulty scoring overall as an offensive unit. If Cleveland improves at the quarterback position, Barnidge's production could make a comeback, making him a sleeper in 2017.
Barnidge hauled in five receptions (six targets) for 42 yards in Saturday's win over the Chargers. Barnidge was a focal point in Cleveland's offense for one of the first times all season. His five receptions were his highest since Week 7, and he totaled his most receiving yards since Week 8. The tight end enjoyed a breakout year in 2015 but has been a bitter disappointment during this season's campaign, putting his future fantasy value in limbo. Barnidge will attempt to finish the season strong Sunday versus the Steelers.
Barnidge secured two of three targets for 35 yards in Sunday's loss to the Bills. No matter who is under center for the Browns, Barnidge just can not seem to get it going in 2016. Robert Griffin only looked his way three times Sunday, and with 45 total catches this season, Barnidge may be regretting his decision to stay with Cleveland. The 31-year-old tight end -- who found pay dirt nine times in 2015 -- has been targeted a measly four times in the red zone and has one touchdown to show for it.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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Red Zone Trends
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