Nick Chubb is entering the final year of his rookie contract but the Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl running back left no doubt about where he wants to be going forward.
Chubb spoke to the media at minicamp on Tuesday and was asked about a contract extension. While former first-round picks Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward had fifth-year options attached to their deals, Chubb — a second-round pick in the same draft class — can be an unrestricted free agent next season.
“Cleveland is where I want to be,” Chubb said via Zoom before minicamp on June 15, mentioning that he believes talks have started between his agent and the Browns on an extension. “I hope everything can work out in that direction.”
Spotrac currently estimates the market value of Chubb to be around $12.1 million per year. That average salary would put him just behind Derrick Henry ($12.5 million) and just ahead of Joe Mixon ($12 million).
Chubb has established himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL, rushing for 3,557 yards and 28 touchdowns over his first three seasons. He narrowly missed out on the rushing title in 2019 and would have been in the running last year as well if not for missing four games with a knee injury. He’s added 72 catches for 577 yards and two touchdowns.
Chubb also sets the tone for the Browns with his quiet, workmanlike attitude.
“He is a cultural tone-setter. I like everything about him,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said of Chubb last season. “Just doesn’t say much. He comes to work and does his job. There’s a way to lead without being a rah-rah guy. You don’t have to be making speeches. His teammates are very, very keenly aware when [he’s] in the building and on the field. He’s about his business and about working. That’s something I really respect.”
Nick Chubb Doesn’t Want Browns to Get Ahead of Themselves
The Browns enter the 2021 season with quite a bit of momentum coming off the franchise’s first playoff win in over a quarter-century and a strong offseason has only added to the hype behind the squad.
However, Chubb has seen this story before when it comes to the Browns, with the team finishing 6-10 in 2019 after a lead-up to the season that was filled with distractions.
“I hope we can pick up where we left out, but it’s still a process,” Chubb said. “We can’t come in here and get ahead of ourselves.”
Browns Have Multiple Key Players Due Extensions
Along with Chubb, the Browns have to think about long-term deals for Mayfield, Ward and stellar offensive guard Wyatt Teller.
As mentioned about Mayfield and Ward both had their fifth-year options picked up, linking them to the Browns for at least the next two seasons. Teller, who arrived in Cleveland via trade from the Buffalo Bills in 2019, has emerged as a key piece of the offensive line. As a former fifth-round pick, Teller will need a new deal before next season.
Mayfield’s contract is an especially interesting decision for the Browns, considering the price franchise QBs are being paid these days. Cleveland could wait another season to see how Mayfield performs, although that’s a gamble for both sides. If Mayfield performs at a Pro Bowl level, his price goes up exponentially. If he goes off course, the former No. 1 overall pick’s future is more uncertain.