Kyle Rudolph Interested In Joining Browns

Following the Vikings’ decision to part ways with Kyle Rudolph, he is a first-time free agent. The veteran tight end would not mind linking up with a longtime Vikings assistant.

Rudolph is interested in joining the Browns, with Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com noting the 10-year pass catcher would “love” to rejoin Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland. Stefanski was with Minnesota for Rudolph’s first nine seasons. The reigning NFL Coach of the Year worked as the Vikings’ OC in 2019 and served as Rudolph’s position coach from 2014-15.

The Browns gave Austin Hooper a $10.5MM-AAV deal at free agency’s outset last year and have David Njoku under contract for 2021, having picked up the former first-rounder’s fifth-year option. However, Njoku did not play a major role in Stefanski’s offense last season.

Over the past two seasons, Njoku has just 24 receptions. The four-year Browns contributor is sounding like the team may move on from him (Twitter link), potentially via trade or release. He requested a trade last year but moved off that stance, but his future in Cleveland still appears murky. Since Njoku is a 2017 first-round pick, his fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only. A Njoku release would create just more than $6MM in cap space for the Browns.

Far and away the leading touchdown scorer (among tight ends) in Vikings history, Rudolph scored six in Stefanski’s offense in 2019 and added a playoff walk-off soon after. The two-time Pro Bowler, however, has not eclipsed 400 receiving yards since the 2018 season. At 31, the 6-foot-6 talent still figures to receive interest. He was involved in trade rumors during the 2019 draft and ahead of the 2020 trade deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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9 comments on “Kyle Rudolph Interested In Joining Browns

  1. DarkSide830

    so does every notable new FA get asked if they want to join the Browns or something?

    • beauner

      Or could there be a connection between the player and his former O coordinator?

  2. Hannibal8us

    I’m a Vikings fan who roots for the Browns because my best friend is a die hard Browns fan. So when I say I don’t see the Browns having much interest it’s with watching Rudy for a decade. The man can block, and is a beast in the redzone but so is Hooper. Bryant looks like a real threat anywhere on the field and Njoku is a physical freak. I wouldn’t rather have Rudy over any of these guys and I wouldn’t want him taking snaps away from Bryant if they replaced Njoku with Rudy.

  3. Brownsbacker9

    I don’t think Njoku will be real happy unless he’s the top TE in Cleveland. He’s young and wants to be a number one. Rudolph has been a #1 already and might be happy with whatever role he can play. If the Browns can trade Njoku and sign Rudolph for less money per year I don’t see a downside

  4. Mr Goodkat

    Hope the feeling isn’t mutual. He’d look good in Black & Gold if they could keep the 2021 cap hit low. Ebron can’t block and they have nothing behind him…

    • Ak185

      While that might help the Steelers, I don’t see any scenario where they can afford to bring in a name in free agency. They’re just trying to figure out how to stay under the cap for next year as is. They also have quite a few holes to fill this year (or will after this year) at many positions. Pittsburgh is hoping That this draft will give them some low priced answers to a lot of these questions, and while tight end is one of them, I’d wager that it is on the lower end of the list.

  5. Michael Chaney

    I said this last night when it was announced he was cut, but I didn’t actually think it was possible.

    I’d love to keep Njoku because he really improved as a blocker and still has plenty of upside in this offense, but if the Browns could trade him to a team with bigger plans for him (while adding a late round pick) and sign Rudolph to take his spot, it would probably be a win for everyone.

  6. cka2nd

    Rudolph would be better off seeking a TE1 job with the six-eight or nine teams looking to fill that position, especially since at least half of them are contenders.

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