Browns Rumors: Cleveland Touted as Landing Spot for Ezekiel Elliott

Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns.

Getty Images Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns.

Former Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott has yet to find a home, and the Cleveland Browns have been touted as a potential suitor for his services.

The Cowboys parted ways with Elliott on March 15 in a cap-saving move, bringing an end to his decorated seven-season stint with the team. Elliott piled up a pair of rushing titles and a trio of Pro Bowl selections while in Dallas, albeit his production had tapered off in recent years due to injuries and the emergence of Tony Pollard.

Elliott isn’t an exact fit for the Browns’ needs, but the team could use a reliable veteran backing up Nick Chubb in case of a doomsday injury scenario. Elliott was named by Sayre Bedinger of FanSided’s Dawg Pound Daily as a potential “unexpected” free agent signing for the Browns.

“The Cleveland Browns let go of Kareem Hunt this offseason, and the thinking has seemingly been going younger at the running back position,” Bedinger wrote in a story published July 30. “But what if the Browns get through training camp or even the first week of camp, and they feel like they need someone with more experience behind Nick Chubb?

“Playing behind Nick Chubb would allow Elliott an opportunity to really play in a relatively risk-free environment,” Bedinger wrote. “Having Elliott behind him on the depth chart would take a lot of pressure off of Chubb.”

Browns Have Expressed Confidence in Second-Year Back Jerome Ford

The idea of adding a former rushing leader to a backfield that already includes Chubb is intriguing, but the Browns have expressed confidence in second-year running back Jerome Ford.

“Jerome’s got a skillset that allows him to do anything and everything,” Browns run game coordinator/running backs coach Stump Mitchell said after June’s mandatory minicamp. “Pass protection, we worked a lot (on that) this spring, so that was the really the only thing we didn’t really have a good handle on because he didn’t do it a lot in college.”

The Browns’ backfield will look different next season following the departures of Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson, who provided reliable depth behind Chubb. Ford has no resume to speak of, getting just limited work as a rookie. He had eight carries for 12 yards last season.

But Ford has the confidence of the coaching staff and, more importantly, Chubb.

“Jerome looks good. He’s fast. He’s very fast. He’s smooth,” Chubb said. “He can do anything you ask him to do. He’s a special player.”

Nick Chubb Concerned About Economic Climate Surrounding Running Backs

Part of the reason someone like Elliott is available at this point of the year is due to a crashing running back market. The position has been devalued by front offices around the league, which is a significant concern for some of the top backs, like Chubb.

“The biggest thing is that we’re the only position where our production hurts us the most. If we go out there and run 2,000 yards with so many carries, the next year they’re going to say you’re probably worn down,” Chubb said on July 23. “It’s tough. It hurts us just to go out there and do well. It hurts us at the end of the day.”

Chubb has had his fair share of carries but has shown little sign of slowing down. He’s fresh off his best season as a pro, rushing for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 5.0 yards per carry.

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments