Browns RB Gets Vote of Confidence Amid Nick Chubb Uncertainty

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is confident in running back Jerome Ford.

Getty Images Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is confident in running back Jerome Ford.

The Cleveland Browns are confident Jerome Ford can be a significant contributor if Nick Chubb is not ready for the start of the season.

Ford was pushed into a large role last season after Chubb was injured in Week 2. While it was still a running back by committee situation, Ford got the majority of the work. He led the team in carries (204) and yards (813). Kareem Hunt also chipped in, mostly on short yardage situations. Hunt is currently a free agent.

“Jerome has done a nice job,” Stefanski said during an appearance on Browns Daily on May 1. “He had some really, really, really big moments for our football team [last year]. He made big plays for us when we needed it. We’re excited about that.”

Chubb’s timeline for a return is still uncertain. He’s made progress in his rehab after a pair of knee surgeries but a Week 1 return appears unlikely.

“First of all, nobody wants to bet against Batman, right? We call him Batman here. And Nick, he is a special player and a special human being,” Berry said on May 2 on the Pat McAfee Show. “He is doing well on his road to recovery. He still has a long way to go. Because, obviously, it was a serious knee injury. But this past month, he actually started running on land.”

Browns Confident in RB Depth

Ford wasn’t a steady engine of the offense like Chubb. But the former fifth-round pick stepped up in a pinch for the Browns. Cleveland also traded for Pierre Strong Jr. last season and he’ll be fighting for a spot on the depth chart.

The Browns did some work adding some veteran depth amid the uncertainty around Chubb’s status. Cleveland signed D’Onta Foreman and Nyheim Hines. Foreman is expected to fill a role similar to Hunt, while Hines will contribute as a pass-catcher and return man.

“Depth is important at every position, we were really pleased with that room last year. I thought Jerome and Pierre in particular did an incredible job filling in last year,” Browns GM Andrew Berry said on April 18. “They got obviously a lot of time and a lot of reps last year and feel very good about their skill sets. We’ve added a couple of guys to that room with differing skill sets that can complement those guys, but we think we’re in a pretty strong spot.”

Nick Chubb Restructured Contract With Browns

The Browns have indicated that they expect Nick Chubb to return to the field next season at some point.

Getty ImagesThe Browns have indicated that they expect Nick Chubb to return to the field next season at some point.

The Browns and Chubb agreed to a new, incentive-based deal this offseason. The restructure kept Chubb in Cleveland, while providing some cap relief. Chubb took a pay cut, shifting his base salary from $11.7 million to just over $1 million. He’ll be able to earn that back through incentives, although it will depend on when he gets on the field.

“I won’t comment in detail on the contract, other than to say that I think that whenever you go through a situation like that, I think people think it’s easy for a club, an agent, to be adversarial,” Berry said on April 18. “And, you know, with Nick’s situation, I really applaud Nick and then his reps, Todd France and A.J. Stevens, for being really collaborative partners and finding a solution that worked for everybody.”

Chubb has collected 6,511 yards and 48 touchdowns in 77 career games. He’s averaging 84.6 yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry.

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