Nick Chubb Gets Challenge From Browns Amid RB Contract Chatter

Nick Chubb

Getty Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns.

Nick Chubb has been tremendous for the Cleveland Browns but his running back coach Stump Mitchell thinks he can be even better.

Chubb has established himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL. He rushed for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, which was his fourth consecutive season rushing for over 1,000 yards. And his career 5.2 per carry average is among the league’s elite.

Something that has eluded Chubb is the rushing title, although he has come close to a few times. Mitchell thinks with a little fine-tuning, Chubb can get there.

“I don’t mind nitpicking Nick at all,” Mitchell told The Dawgs podcast. “Nick will probably go all year and he will probably have about, I would say 15 runs where he probably could have pressed the run track a little bit more. And if we can improve upon that, I think he can probably lead the league in rushing, even though those guys may have 100 more carries than he will, it doesn’t matter. If we can improve upon that, he can still lead the league in rushing because he’s averaging over 5.2 yards a carry. If we can improve upon that, he can average maybe six yards a carry and he can lead the league in rushing. When I nitpick Nick, he understands there’s big yardage that he left on the field.”

Recent Contract Decisions Don’t Favor Nick Chubb

Chubb signed a three-year, $36.6 million extension with the Browns in 2021, rightfully making him one of the highest-paid running backs in the league. He is under contract for the next two seasons with the Browns, although the team has a potential out after this year. It would save the Browns around $12 million in cap space, although it’d be at the cost of their most consistent offensive weapon.

Chubb’s been the ultimate teammate and a superstar-level producer with no baggage. However, the running back market has been rough this offseason, with franchise backs like Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs unable to lock up long-term deals. Veteran backs like Ezekiel Elliott, Kareem Hunt and Dalvin Cook seeing very limited interest also shows the effects of a crashing running back market.

Depending on how things go this season for Chubb, it could be a very interesting conversation for the team going forward.

Nick Chubb’s Role Expected to Evolve With Browns

As Mitchell noted, Chubb is not going to lead the league in carries. He’s never been a volume back in terms of his carries with the Browns and his workload is expected to shift a bit next year. Cleveland will rely more on the pass next season with Deshaun Watson entering his second season under center.

But as Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of noted, Chubb will still get his touches. It might just look a little different.

“The blocking schemes will change some to accommodate Watson’s mobility and designed runs, but Nick Chubb and the zone blocking schemes will still be a big part of the offense,” Cabot wrote. “The Browns recognize that Chubb is a huge part of the offense, and that’s not changing anytime soon. This is still the AFC North, and there’s still weather to contend with in November and December.”

Cabot added: “A strong running game will also support Watson’s more explosive passing game. In addition, Chubb will be used more as a receiver out of the backfield, so his touches might evolve, but he’ll get them.”

Chubb has 119 catches for 990 yards in his career. He has found the end zone four times as a receiver. He caught just 27 passes last year.