The beautiful thing about the partnership between Cleveland Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is the fact that they cheer each other on — even when it comes to their contract situations.
Chubb is entering the final year of his rookie deal and there’s been talk about the Pro Bowl back inking an extension with the Browns before the start of the season. It’s not the easiest decision to pay a running back big money, but Chubb has proved that he is worth every penny for the Browns.
“Pay that man. He’s a freak of nature. He’s like a brother to me,” Hunt said, per Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “I hope we can play together for a long time.”
Hunt signed an extension with the Browns last offseason, keeping him with the team until at least 2022. That deal was for two years and $13.25 million.
Spotrac estimates Chubb’s market value at four years and near $45.5 million, which is just over $12.1 million per season. That’d be on pace with the contracts of Bengals RB Joe Mixon and two-time rushing leader Derrick Henry.
Chubb said during minicamp that he believed his agent and the Browns had talks on an extension.
“I told my agent just to handle it for me until he needs me,” Chubb said.
Hunt on Partnership: ‘We’ll Get the Job Done’
The Browns could choose to expand the playbook next season and use more packages that involve both Chubb and Hunt being on the field together. Hunt has also shown off solid hands in the passing game, which adds another wrinkle.
When asked about playing at the same time as Chubb, Hunt said they’ll make it work.
“Possibly,” Hunt said. “Whatever Coach [Kevin] Stefanski calls, either Nick or I are going to make it work. So if that’s both of us on the field at the same time, that’s both of us on the field at the same time. We’re going to find a way to make it work and get the job done. That’s just how we’ve got to look at it. It doesn’t matter if we’re on the field or not together, we’re going to find a way to get the job done.”
Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt commented on that topic during minicamp.
“You want to put your most talented players on the field, and Kareem is definitely deserving of getting playing time along with Nick in certain packages,” Van Pelt said. “Those are things we’ve looked at in the offseason and will continue to grow.”
Chubb, Hunt Looking for History as 1,000-Yard Rushers
Despite missing time with a knee injury last season, Chubb rushed for 1067 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games. Hunt — who led the league in rushing back in 2017 as a rookie — notched 841 yards on the ground and caught 51 balls for 304 yards.
The duo has a chance to become the first Browns running back to rush for 1,000 yards in the same season since Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack in 1985.
“It’s very possible,” he said. “I believed it was possible last year, too, but some things happened. We’ll learn from it and get better and hopefully continue to put in good work this year.”
Chubb and Hunt will get their first action of the season against Kansas City on September 12.