Matthew Berry of NBC Sports broke down some things he heard at the combine and a fascinating nugget came out of his conversations that addressed how the Browns offense will shift in Year 2 of Deshaun Watson.
“Cleveland’s offense is going to be really interesting next year. Look for the Browns to add a speed wide receiver this off-season to go with Amari Cooper. One source told me ‘They are really going to open up the offense. Go five wide. Pass a lot. This is going to be Deshaun Watson’s offense, not Nick Chubb’s. They will pass a lot more than folks expect,'” Berry reported.
Chubb’s Role in Offense Could Shrink
Berry went on to cite a cold-weather game where Chubb had just 12 carries and Watson passed 29 times. He said that the norm for Cleveland could be Watson’s attempts climbing into the 40s and Chubb’s carry total sticking around a dozen per game. That generated a discussion on Twitter about Chubb’s future with the franchise.
“More I think about it if AB can get a 2nd or early 3rd for Chubb I think he’d do it,” the well-known Clevanalytics tweeted. “It’s not just trade compensation, it’s the $19m of cap savings over next 2 yrs that gets freed up & allows another signing and/or trade for high priced vet. Combo Pk + acquisition that makes it worthy. Also adding another 2nd or 3rd can help package for a trade up. Just for fun. Let’s say Miami gave you #58 for Chubb. U can package #42 and #58 to move up to ~#20 for Smith-Njigba. Then u take the $6.9M in savings this yr + your current cap space to help sign Hargrave. Not bad?”
Others agreed with that sentiment, with the focus being on getting elite wide receiver talent in the building to help Watson.
“Love Nick Chubb. Hall of Fame material,” Ed Greenberger tweeted. “But if they can trade him for a 1st rounder (which I doubt) and draft an elite WR, to me it’s a no-brainer. One elite WR is worth 3 great RBs in today’s NFL. Probably more.”
Others clearly did not agree with the idea of trading their All-Pro back, who is coming off a year where he ran for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“You guys are wild for wanting to trade Nick Chubb,” Mekka Don tweeted. “By wild, I mean crazy. And by crazy, I mean STUPID.”
Adding to the argument to trade Chubb is that recent Super Bowl winners have not had highly-paid running backs in recent years. Chiefs RB Isiah Pacheco was the latest example, with the rookie making less than $1 million this season.
Chubb Was Disappointed With How Season Played Out
Chubb racked up individual accolades last season but wasn’t shy to express his frustration after the Browns were eliminated from the postseason.
“It is disappointing for sure. We had our chances. We had our chances, but we didn’t make the most of it and here we are. We are who we are,” Chubb said.
The Browns running back room will also look a bit different next year. Kareem Hunt is a free agent and will most likely be looking for a team where he’ll have more opportunities. Backup D’Ernest Johnson could return next season in a limited role, although second-year RB Jerome Ford is expected to assume the primary backup duties.