Well-Traveled Veteran Pitched as Browns’ Nick Chubb Replacement

Getty Images The Cleveland Browns may have to look at some veteran options like D'Onta Foreman to help replace Nick Chubb.

One of the most significant decisions the Cleveland Browns will have to make this offseason will involve running back Nick Chubb.

The four-time Pro Bowl running back has been the heartbeat of the Browns since arriving in 2018 as a second-round pick. He’s racked up 1,000-yard seasons and has earned a reputation as being one of the best backs in the league.

That being said, the NFL is a business and the Browns may be forced to make a painful decision with Chubb after a season-ending knee injury. Chubb has had a pair of surgeries on his injured knee and his timeline for a return is uncertain. The Browns disclosed that they expect him back at some point next season.

The major issue is that Chubb is set to count nearly $16 million against the cap next season. It’s a number the Browns can’t stomach in a year where they need to get creative with their cap space. Chubb’s dead money if released is just $4 million.

If the Browns do decide to look for a replacement for Chubb, there will be a few interesting options available. Bleacher Report laid out a couple of potential options, including Chicago Bears impending free agent D’Onta Foreman and Kansas City Chiefs veteran Jerick McKinnon.

“If Chubb does depart, complementary backs like D’Onta Foreman and Jerick McKinnon will probably be on Cleveland’s radar,” Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox wrote on January 13. “Jerome Ford has been a serviceable starter, but he’s better suited to lead a committee than to handle an every-down role.”

Kareem Hunt Open to Return to Browns

The Browns could roll with Kareem Hunt for another year as Nick Chubb works his way back.

Getty ImagesThe Browns could roll with Kareem Hunt for another year as Nick Chubb works his way back.

If the Browns are looking for a veteran to help hold the fort down while Chubb recovers, they may not have to look far. Kareem Hunt signed with the Browns shortly after Chubb’s injury in Week 2 and became a solid contributor. He lacked in the explosive play department but was a force in short-yardage situations.

Hunt finished the season with 411 yards on 135 carries, averaging 3.0 yards per carry. He has spent the last five seasons with the Browns and wouldn’t mind coming back for another run.

“If the opportunity presents itself and it’s right here, then I wouldn’t be opposed to coming back. It’s my hometown and I want to do nothing but help them win the Super Bowl,” Hunt said. “It’s my ultimate hope no matter what, even if I’m playing for another team or anything, I would always be happy and satisfied if they bring a championship to Cleveland — it’s my hometown. Shoot, I’d probably be at the parade cheering them on too, if that was to happen. I wish nothing but the best for the organization and the Cleveland Browns and I’m happy that I got to be a part of this journey for so long.”

Whoever comes in would work with Jerome Ford. The Browns used a running back by committee approach but the fifth-round pick saw the majority of work. Ford tallied 813 yards on 204 carries. He also caught 44 passes for 319 yards, finishing with 9 total touchdowns.

Browns Don’t Have Update on Nick Chubb

The Browns did not have an update on the health of Nick Chubb following a season-ending loss to the Texans.

Getty ImagesThe Browns did not have an update on the health of Nick Chubb following a season-ending loss to the Texans.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was asked for an update on Chubb in his season-ending press conference. He didn’t have much of one, other than saying Chubb is doing “great.”

“I don’t have an update other than to say he’s doing great,” Stefanski said. “He’s progressing and doing everything he’s supposed to do, if not more. We’ll see how it goes.”

Chubb has been around the facility a bit more in recent weeks. He even showed up for the team’s home finale, serving as the Dawg Pound captain and rallying the crowd.

He 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 5.3 per carry average is among the NFL’s elite.

The decision on Chubb may not be as cut and dry as keep him or release him. The Browns could potentially re-work his deal to lessen the cap hit and build in incentives based on playing time. The market has not been kind to running backs in recent years. But Chubb should be looked at as an exception, considering his track record.

Read More