Browns RB Nick Chubb Gets Bad News on Future

Cleveland Browns star RB Nick Chubb could be a cap casualty.

Getty Images Cleveland Browns star RB Nick Chubb could be a cap casualty.

The Cleveland Browns are heading into a crucial offseason and the future of star running back Nick Chubb hangs in the balance, with pivotal decisions on the horizon.

Recent history offers little solace for Chubb, with the harsh realities of NFL economics overshadowing his undeniable value to the franchise — both on and off the field. The market has not been kind to running backs of late. And Chubb has some factors stacked against him.

Chubb suffered a catastrophic knee injury in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had both his ACL and MCL repaired during two separate surgeries, the latest of those procedures coming in November.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry referred to Chubb’s contract as the “elephant in the room” during his end-of-season press conference. Chubb will count $15.8 million against the cap next season. However, he has no guaranteed money left on his deal. If the Browns released Chubb it would result in just $4 million of dead cap.

The Browns have some options with Chubb, including extending him to lower the cap hit for the coming year. That would come with the hope that Chubb looks like the unstoppable force he was before the injury.

Chubb has all the attributes to defy the odds but ESPN’s Dan Graziano still sees the four-time Pro Bowler as a potential cap casualty.

“He’s 28, coming off a major season-ending knee injury and scheduled to earn $12 million in non-guaranteed money in the final year of his contract,” Graziano wrote on Tuesday, February 13. “Yes, he’s an extension candidate, but he’s also a potential cap casualty. Either way, Chubb could be the latest bellwether of the frustrating running back market.”

Browns Want to Make it Work With Nick Chubb

The Browns want to find a way to keep Chubb around with a new deal.

Getty ImagesThe Browns want to find a way to keep Chubb around with a new deal.

The preference for the Browns is to bring Chubb back on a new, reworked deal. He’s a no-nonsense superstar and is looked to as a leader in the locker room. Not to mention he’s been a force for Cleveland since arriving as a second-round pick in 2018.

Through six seasons Chubb has rushed for 6,511 yards and 48 touchdowns. His career 5.3 yards per carry is among the league’s elite.

Browns GM Andrew Berry made it clear that the Browns will work with Chubb this offseason to find a path forward.

“I can say for myself or anyone in the organization, no one wants to see that carry in Pittsburgh be the last time he carries a ball for the Cleveland Browns,” Berry said.  “I came into this season, on a terms of one to 10, with a respect of 10 for Nick. Coming out of this year, it’s a 20. You would never think that was out for the season with the way he operated within the building. It was like he was doing two-a-day practices for rehab”

Browns RB Kareem Hunt to Test Free Agency

Browns RB Kareem Hunt is expected to test free agency this offseason.

Getty ImagesBrowns RB Kareem Hunt is expected to test free agency this offseason.

The Browns relied on a running back by committee approach with Chubb sidelined. Jerome Ford took on the majority of work, although Kareem Hunt and Pierre Strong Jr. also pitched in.

Hunt was signed by the Browns shortly after Chubb’s injury. Hunt finished the season with 411 yards on 135 carries, averaging 3.0 yards per carry. He made his most significant contributions in short-yardage situations, finishing with a team-high nine rushing touchdowns.

“I’m so appreciative of him and the way that he played and the style which he played,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said in his end-of-season press conference on January 14. “Pre-injury to Nick, we didn’t have a spot. But to Kareem’s credit, he stayed in great shape, we brought him in worked him out, he looked great. Picked back up the system right away and played really good football for us. He made plays in high-leverage moments and scored touchdowns.”

Despite the good review from Stefanski, the Browns are expected to let Hunt test free agency. He didn’t get many bites last offseason but could find a home thanks to his short-yardage work with the Browns. Strong and Ford are both under contract for next season.

Read More