Browns Star Nick Chubb Poised to Rewrite the RB Contract Narrative

Getty Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns.

Nick Chubb has been the epitome of consistency for the Cleveland Browns and he may have the opportunity to do what few backs have been able to recently around the NFL.

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.

But considering Chubb’s production, it seems unlikely the Browns are going to part ways with him, even with the offense expected to skew more pass-heavy next season. Chubb rushed for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. It 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.

Unless his production takes a massive drop, Chubb is poised to land a third contract with the Browns, per Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti.

“He’s almost 28, and the contract holds a non-guaranteed $12M in 2024, but he’s also still highly productive and and integral piece to this Browns’ puzzle,” Ginnitti wrote. “Most running backs aren’t even sniffing a second contract in this league — but Chubb may be trending toward a third.”

This offseason has not been kind to some notable running back names, including Ezekiel Elliott, Dalvin Cook and former Browns running back Kareem Hunt. All three remain without teams and the market doesn’t seem to indicate that they’ll be cashing in closer to training camp.

Nick Chubb’s Role Shifting But Not Diminishing With Browns

Heading into their second season with Deshaun Watson as their quarterback, the Browns are anticipating a full and impactful year from him after his 11-game absence last year due to suspension. With a bolstered wide receiver unit acquired during the offseason, Cleveland is poised to increase their passing game in the upcoming season.

However, amidst these changes, Chubb remains a crucial part of the team’s plans, although his role may undergo a transformation.

“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 in a recent mailbag column. “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.

Nick Chubb Not Worried About Workload

Chubb is not overly concerned about the potential offensive shift on the horizon. He’s going to do what he’s always done — put his head down and work.

“I’m not worried at all,” Chubb said during minicamp. “I can’t control what I can’t control. When the ball is in my hand, I have full control, so I’m not worried about anything.”

What is also in Chubb’s favor in terms of workload is that he’s the only proven back the Browns have in their stable currently. Jerome Ford is expected to take on a larger role in his second year but has no track record to speak of. As a rookie, he notched eight carries for 12 yards.

The Browns are in the market for another veteran running back who could help carry the load if Chubb went down with an injury. Former Chargers RB Justin JacksonKenyan Drake, or a familiar face like Dontrell Hilliard could be among the names the Browns consider bringing in before training camp.