Browns Urged to Find Nick Chubb Successor Amid Uncertainty

The Browns need to start thinking about their Nick Chubb succession plan.

Getty Images The Browns need to start thinking about their Nick Chubb succession plan.

Finding Nick Chubb’s successor will not be easy, but the Cleveland Browns may need to start investigating sooner rather than later.

Since arriving in 2018, Chubb has been the heart and soul of the Browns. He’s a quiet, low-maintenance superstar who, when healthy, functions as the consistent engine of the offense.

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.

But the reality is a tough one for the Browns and their fans. Chubb is approaching 30 years old, and it’s unknown what he’ll look like following his devastating knee injury. The hope is that Chubb will continue to look superhuman after his return. However, there’s a chance that won’t happen.

Jimmy Watkins of urged the Browns to start the process of looking for Chubb’s successor in this year’s draft.

“I know the truck-stick superstar is Superman in fans’ eyes and Batman in his own, but the Dawg Pound’s superhero will turn 29 in December at a position where few players make it to 30. He just suffered the second gruesome knee injury of his career, dating back to college,” Watkins said on Friday, April 19. “In cold-hearted football culture, the best time to draft your star’s replacement is before your fans are ready.”

Browns Confident in Nick Chubb’s Progress

Nick Chubb's future with the Browns is a question beyond this season.

Getty ImagesNick Chubb’s future with the Browns is a question beyond this season.

Watkins admits that thinking about Chubb’s eventual departure as he grinds to get back on the field could be seen as heartless. He also acknowledged that Chubb means more to the franchise and city than a typical player.

“For the record, no one’s trying to rush Chubb out of town or out of his prime, either. But no fan wants the Browns to be caught without a contingency plan when he leaves or slows down, whether that’s next year or three years after that. Right?” Watkins said. “In the city’s heart, he means so much more than football can convey, and he will never be replaced.”

The Browns and Chubb have already agreed to a restructured deal that lowers his base salary. However, Chubb will be able to earn most of that back through incentives, although much of that will depend on when he returns. He’ll be a free agent next offseason unless a new deal is reached.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry has spoken glowingly of Chubb this offseason. Berry has praised the way Chubb has attacked his rehab and made it a priority to keep him in orange and brown.

“You know, I think everybody in this room is happy that Nick is back as a Cleveland Brown and we’re very optimistic that he’s going to crush the rehab,” Berry said on April 18.

Browns Confident in RB Depth as Nick Chubb Recovers

The Browns have met with Florida State RB Trey Benson ahead of the draft.

Getty ImagesThe Browns have met with Florida State RB Trey Benson ahead of the draft.

This year’s running back draft class isn’t particularly deep. And the Browns have other more pressing needs they need to address.

Cleveland worked to build depth in the backfield during free agency, adding veterans D’Onta Foreman and Nyheim Hines. They’ll join Jerome Ford, Pierre Strong Jr. and John Kelly on the depth chart. It’s unlikely any of those names are a long-term option for the Browns.

“At running back, that means finding the next Nick Chubb before the current one runs out of juice,” Watkins said. “And ahead of next week’s NFL Draft, that could mean spending a pick on a player with the potential to complement Chubb now and succeed him later.”

The Browns have met with Florida State running back Trey Benson. The explosive 21-year-old is projected to go around the third round.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic has the Browns picking up South Dakota State RB Isaiah Davis in the seventh round. Davis rushed for 4,548 yards and 50 touchdowns over a four-year career with the Jackrabbits.

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