Nick Chubb

Contract Details: Chubb, Thomas, Allen, Wilson

Let’s catch up on the details of some of the big contracts recently signed around the NFL:

  • We heard last night that Browns running back Nick Chubb was signing a big three-year extension worth $36MM with $20MM guaranteed. We’ve got the full equation now, thanks to what a league source told Jason Fitzgerald of Overthecap.com. For starters, Chubb is getting a $12MM signing bonus. It also turns out that not *quite* $20MM is fully guaranteed. The actual guarantee is only $17.133MM. However, it’s almost effectively $20MM, since the other $2.87MM in guarantees vests in 2022 and it’s incredibly unlikely Chubb would be off the roster by then. Chubb will have low salaries and low cap hits in 2021 and 2022. In 2023, he’ll have a cap hit of $14.85MM. He’ll have a $10.85MM salary but only the $2.87MM of that will be guaranteed. In 2024, he’ll have a non-guaranteed salary of $11.775MM and a cap hit of $16.2MM for his final year.
  • Washington just made Logan Thomas the seventh highest-paid tight end in the game, and now we have new figures on his deal. His three-year, $24MM extension will give him a cap hit of $6.465MM in 2022, $8.75MM in 2023, and $8.315MM in 2024, John Keim of EPSN.com reports. The dead cap hits for those three years will be $7.465MM, $3.5MM, and $1.75MM respectively. In other words it won’t be too hard for the team to get out of the contract after 2022 if they wanted to. Thomas will receive a $300K roster bonus each season, and is due a $500K roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2024 league year, so that will be an important date in the final season of his new pact.
  • Thomas wasn’t the only player to get an extension from Washington this past week. The Football Team also gave defensive tackle Jonathan Allen a big four-year, $72MM deal. We didn’t previously know the full guaranteed amount, but it’s apparently $35.6MM. Allen’s cap hits for those four new seasons will be $9.5MM, $21.5MM, $21.5MM, and $23MM, Keim writes. As such, he won’t start really weighing down Washington’s books until 2023. He has a $14MM salary for that season which becomes guaranteed on the third day of that league year. His dead cap charges will be $26MM, $18MM, $12MM, $6MM for 2022-2025.
  • Zach Wilson and the Jets avoided potential disaster by agreeing to terms on his rookie deal right before training camp started, and now we have more context on the holdup. We knew there was an issue about potential signing bonus money deferment, and it turns out New York wanted the rookie quarterback to wait to get a significant amount of cash. The Jets “only opened negotiations last week,” and wanted Wilson to defer a whopping $6MM of his signing bonus to 2022, a source told Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). After the team relented and agreed to pay the whole signing bonus upfront, Wilson hopped on a plane to New York. In return, the Jets did get some of the offset language they were seeking.

Browns, Nick Chubb Agree On $36MM Extension

We’ve heard a lot about a potential Nick Chubb extension this offseason, and now it’s officially happening. The Browns and the running back have agreed to terms on an extension, a source told Mike Jones of USA Today (Twitter link).

Jones said four years, but it’s actually a three-year extension worth $36MM with $20MM guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson was first to tweet that a deal was close. It had always been up in the air whether something would get done before the season started, but they managed to get it done with plenty of time to spare.

As a second-round pick in 2018, Chubb was previously set to enter the final year of his rookie deal. He’s been one of the best running backs in the NFL since entering the league, and has made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons.

The Georgia product led the league in rushing in 2019 and led the league in rushing touchdowns last year with 12 despite playing only 12 games. Impressively, Chubb has averaged at least five yards per carry in each of his three pro seasons.

Chubb is now one of the league’s highest-paid running backs, and he should have at least another opportunity to break the bank. As a result of this relatively short-term deal, Chubb will get to re-enter free agency in the spring of 2025 when he’ll still only be 29.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski loves to run the ball, and he wasn’t about to let the engine of his offense go anywhere. The deal will keep Chubb tied to the Browns through the 2024 campaign. Cleveland also has Kareem Hunt in their backfield, but that didn’t appear to make them at all hesitant about paying Chubb.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extension Candidate: Nick Chubb

The past year and change reset the NFL’s running back market. After the previous wave of big-ticket contracts produced shaky outcomes — in the cases of Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley and David Johnson — a few teams still prioritized their high-end backs and went ahead with extensions.

The 2017 draft class was responsible for most of these accords. Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry are attached to high-value running back deals, but 2017 draftees Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon and Aaron Jones all signed for at least $12MM per year since March 2020. The 2018 draft class is now eligible for extensions, and another backfield mainstay is on track to join the 2017 contingent near the running back salary hierarchy.

Nick Chubb has become the centerpiece of a run-oriented Browns offense that rode its two-pronged ground attack to the playoffs. After playing an essential role in snapping the Browns’ postseason drought, Chubb joins Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward and guard Wyatt Teller as extension candidates for a rising Cleveland team. With Mayfield and Ward signed through 2022, Chubb may be the team’s top contract priority ahead of the 2021 season.

Negotiations have begun, and a deal being finalized before the start of the season — thus protecting Chubb from a value-changing injury in his contract year — is in play. The Georgia product has become the most reliable back from the 2018 class. While Saquon Barkley may have this group’s highest ceiling, he is coming off ACL and MCL tears. Like Barkley in 2019, Chubb suffered a high ankle sprain. But he returned after four missed games to clear 1,000 yards (1,067) in just 12 contests. The 25-year-old back rushed for a career-high 12 touchdowns and joined Mayfield in leading the Browns to their first divisional-round game since 1994.

The two-time Pro Bowler has proven to be an elite ball carrier, but unlike the 2017 backs given extensions at or north of the $12MM-per-year mark, Chubb is not a major passing-game factor. He has yet to top 300 receiving yards in a season, with the Browns slotting Kareem Hunt as their preferred outlet option among these two. Hunt’s presence complicates Cleveland’s setup here — but only to a point. The Browns signed the embattled ex-Chief to an extension, but the two-year, $13.25MM pact represents midlevel money. Hunt is signed through 2022, but his $6.25MM cap number is both manageable and non-guaranteed. This seemingly keeps a Chubb extension realistic.

Chubb is the leader of Cleveland’s historically talented backfield, outrushing Hunt 1,067-841 last season despite the latter receiving more carries (198-190) during the starter’s injury-shortened season. Although Hunt is a Cleveland-area native, a scenario in which he moves on for a higher-paying RB1 gig elsewhere by 2023 may be likely — unless he is willing to accept a discount to stay a backup.

Henry’s four-year, $50MM deal ($25.5MM guaranteed) profiles a likely Hunt starting point. The Titans also use a run-centric offense, and Henry does not factor into their passing attack much. Chubb (44 career catches at Georgia) has never played a major receiving role, which could keep him off the McCaffrey-Kamara tier (north of $15MM AAV). Then again, the salary cap is set to balloon to nearly $210MM in 2022, perhaps giving Chubb a ladder up to the CMC-Kamara level. Also working in Chubb’s favor: his 680 career carries through three seasons ranks 56th all time and 22nd among backs whose careers started in the 21st century. He should have enough tread on his tires to be productive for the next few seasons.

While the Browns will certainly need to be careful here, the Rams and Jets’ Gurley and Bell missteps are not exactly comparable. Gurley entered the NFL with a knee issue, while Bell had more than 1,200 carries at the time of his free agency pact. Elliott was at 1,003 touches through three years; Chubb exited Year 3 with 752. Hunt staying through 2022 would also stand to shield Chubb from a Bell- or Elliott-like workload.

Either way, it sounds like the Browns will become the rare team with two well-paid backs on their roster soon. A Chubb extension will help establish a Barkley floor as well, should the Giants standout return to full strength this season, while providing the Browns with their most stable long-term backfield situation in decades. Cleveland missed on Trent Richardson, though the franchise did collect a first-rounder for him, and let Isaiah Crowell walk after his rookie deal expired. Chubb certainly appears set for a different northeast Ohio path.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nick Chubb Could Get Browns Extension Before Start Of Season

We heard last week that Nick Chubb‘s agent had started extension talks with the Browns. Although Chubb said he wasn’t putting a deadline on things which seemed to imply it could come during the season, it sounds like it may happen sooner than that.

Chubb could get his extension done before the beginning of the season, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Kay Cabot says there’s mutual affection between the two sides, “which should translate to an extension.” It sounds like both Chubb and the Browns want to get something done, so don’t expect this to drag on too long.

Interestingly, Kay Cabot writes that she believes Cleveland “will negotiate an incentive-laden deal” with Chubb that gives them some protection in case he declines, in the wake of several other high profile running backs who have landed huge contracts and then fizzled.

The 2018 second-round pick is currently set to enter the final year of his rookie deal. Whenever he gets a new contract he’ll want to become one of the league’s highest-paid rushers, and deservedly so. Despite ceding some carries to Kareem Hunt, Chubb has rushed for over 2,500 yards in 28 games over the past two years, averaging well over five yards per carry.

In 2019, he led the NFL in rushing with 1,494 yards. Last season he led the league in rushing touchdowns with 12, despite playing only 12 games while dealing with an MCL injury. He’ll turn 26 in December.

Nick Chubb Aiming For Browns Extension

The running back salary landscape has shifted somewhat over the past year and change. Several members of the 2017 running back class secured long-term extensions, creating a host of new eight-figure-per-year contracts. One of 2018’s top draftees is now up for a new deal.

Nick Chubb has become one of the NFL’s top backs but has no intention of testing the market. The fourth-year back said Tuesday, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he believes his agent has begun extension talks with the Browns. Chubb would prefer that scenario reaching a lucrative conclusion. He has not set a deadline regarding an extension, Cabot adds.

I don’t like uncertainty, and I know here in Cleveland what I have with the players and coaches,’’ Chubb said. “This is the city of Cleveland, and I don’t know how things will be anywhere else. So Cleveland is where I want to be and that is my main focus – to be here in Cleveland.”

This plan will probably work for the Browns, even though they have a couple of other high-profile extension candidates — Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward — on which to focus at some point in the near future. Chubb has become the centerpiece player on Cleveland’s offense. After finishing second in the 2019 rushing race (1,494 yards), Chubb rushed for a career-high 12 touchdowns last season. The Georgia product did that in just 12 games, averaging 5.6 yards per carry in an injury-shortened slate.

Although the Browns gave Kareem Hunt an extension, the former rushing champion/overqualified backup is signed through 2022 at just $6MM per year. Chubb will undoubtedly be eyeing a top-tier running back contract. Christian McCaffrey‘s $16MM-AAV extension now tops the market, with six backs drafted from 2016-17 also signed for at least $12MM annually. While Chubb does not contribute much in the passing game, he has proven to be one of the league’s best ball carriers. The 25-year-old back will be able to comfortably ask for a deal north of that $12MM-per-year threshold.

The Browns have Chubb under contract through the end of this season but retain exclusive negotiating rights through next March’s legal tampering period. Should no deal be reached by then, the franchise tag will be an option. This did not end up being necessary for six of the seven eight-figure-per-year backs. McCaffrey signed with two years of rookie-contract control left; so did Ezekiel Elliott. Alvin Kamara, Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook signed their deals going into their contract years — Chubb’s present window — while the Packers extended Aaron Jones just ahead of his free agency. Derrick Henry‘s 2020 tag led to a $12.5MM-AAV extension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns To Activate RB Nick Chubb

The Browns are about to get a major boost to their offense. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Cleveland has activated Nick Chubb from injured reserve. The running back is expected to play tomorrow against the Texans.

Chubb was rolling through his first three-plus games of the 2020 campaign, collecting 335 rushing yards and four scores on only 57 carries (good for 5.9 yards per attempt). However, he was placed on injured reserve with an MCL injury in early October, but there was always some optimism that Chubb would return sooner than later. Following a productive week at practice, the Browns staff felt Chubb was ready to return to the field.

In his stead, the team has turned to Kareem Hunt and (to a lesser extent) D’Ernest Johnson. Hunt, who has 18 receptions through eight games, should still see a role in the passing game, but Chubb should otherwise take up the majority of the carries. The running game will have an excellent opportunity for a standout performance against Houston tomorrow, as the Texans are allowing 159.5 rushing yards per game.

Offensive guard Wyatt Teller should also be on the field against Houston. The lineman was limited in practice this week with a calf strain, but head coach Kevin Stefanski indicated that Teller would be good to go this weekend.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: T. Brown, Garoppolo, Clowney

Let’s round up a few injury-related items from around the league.

  • Raiders OT Trent Brown is back on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Brown is expected to miss at least a month of action (Twitter link).
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports confirms a report from several days ago that 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will not require surgery on his injured ankle, but the 29-year-old signal-caller is expected to miss at least a month (Twitter link). The injury further clouds Garoppolo’s uncertain future in San Francisco.
  • Titans edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney is out for today’s game against the Bears. He is dealing with a meniscus issue and may ultimately opt for surgery.
  • The Browns have a bye this week, and next time they’re on the field, they hope to be rejoined by Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb (Twitter link via Rapoport). Chubb has been dealing with an MCL injury, and though Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson have played reasonably well in his absence, getting Chubb back will be a big boost to Cleveland’s playoff push.
  • Some may be wondering if WR Odell Beckham has already played his last game for the Browns, as he will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear and has never really embraced Cleveland. Kim Jones of WFAN reports that OBJ will undergo surgery to repair the ACL on Tuesday (Twitter link).
  • Ravens RB Mark Ingram left Baltimore’s game against the Eagles several weeks ago, and he still has not returned to action. Rapoport says Ingram is dealing with a high-ankle sprain (Twitter link), which explains the multi-week absence. Ingram has been ruled out for today’s game against the Colts, but younger backs Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins may be the better options anyway.
  • When the Eagles return to their facility following this week’s bye, they expect to have RB Miles Sanders back, and they believe WR Alshon Jeffery will be a full participant in practice (Twitter link via Rapoport).

Browns Place Nick Chubb On IR

The Browns placed running back Nick Chubb on injured reserve with with an MCL injury, head coach Kevin Stefanski announced. Fortunately, the injury is not season-ending, so Chubb is expected to return later on this year. Doctors believe Chubb will miss about six weeks, according to a source who spoke with ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).

Chubb got rolled up on in scary fashion on Sunday when his knee twisted under a Cowboys defender. Fortunately, the injury was nowhere near as bad as it looked. An MRI on Monday morning confirmed that Chubb is only dealing with mild MCL damage and not a torn ACL.

Chubb, 25 in December, has been off to a tremendous start in 2020. Through four games, he’s got 335 rushing yards off of 57 carries, good for 5.9 yards per tote. Since entering the league as a second-rounder in 2018, Chubb has averaged an eye-popping 5.2 yards per attempt. Last year, Chubb came six yards shy of 1,500 en route to his first ever Pro Bowl selection.

Per league rules, Chubb will have to sit out for at least three weeks. At minimum, Chubb will miss upcoming games against the Colts, Steelers, and Bengals. In theory, he’ll be eligible to return on Nov. 1 when the Browns face the Raiders in Cleveland, but it’s likely that he’ll need additional time to recover. In the meantime, Kareem Hunt will assume RB1 duties, with support from D’Ernest Johnson, Dontrell Hilliard, and fullback Andy Janovich.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Chubb, Looney, Darnold, Fant,

It’s been a bad year for injuries, and unfortunately we’ve already heard reports of significant ones to guys like O.J. Howard and Austin Ekeler this Sunday. Here’s the latest batch of updates as Week 4 winds down:

  • Browns running back Nick Chubb got rolled up on in scary fashion, with his knee twisting under a Cowboys defender. Fortunately it looks like Cleveland dodged a bullet, as a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that the team is “cautiously optimistic” he didn’t suffer a torn ACL. He’ll have an MRI on Monday to tell the full story, but it looks like he isn’t going to be done for the year.
  • Chubb wasn’t the only one to go down with a knee injury in the same game. Cowboys center Joe Looney also hurt his knee and was quickly ruled out, which had Dallas fans holding their breath. Like with Chubb however it appears it could’ve been worse, as Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets that there’s “hope the injury is not of season-ending variety.” Dallas is already banged up on the offensive line, and starting right tackle La’el Collins was just ruled out for the year due to hip surgery, so this would be a big loss. Rookie fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz filled in after Looney got hurt.
  • Sam Darnold hurt his shoulder early in the Jets’ Thursday Night Football game, and although he was able to return to the loss to the Broncos and keep playing, it appears he isn’t out of the woods yet. Darnold has a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and is in danger of missing New York’s Week 5 game against the Cardinals, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “We just need to make sure we lay everything out and kind of see where we go from here, what’s best for him, not just next week but long term,” head coach Adam Gase explained. Darnold has struggled mightily in his third season, and considering this is clearly the Jets’ easiest game for the foreseeable future, it would be great if he could play. If he’s unable to go, veteran Joe Flacco would draw the spot start.
  • Broncos tight end Noah Fant also went down on Thursday night, suffering an ankle injury. Although he was carte to the locker room it fortunately isn’t a season-ending broken ankle or anything of the sort. That being said he will be week to week and is expected to miss Denver’s Week 5 game against the Patriots, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). You’re probably well aware of the Broncos’ injury woes this season, as players have been going down left and right. At 1-3 and without practically half of their starting lineup, it’s looking like a lost season for Denver. The 20th overall pick of last year’s draft had been playing well, with 19 catches for 219 yards and two scores through three and a half games before going down.

West Notes: Chubb, 49ers, Raiders

A matchup between two of this rookie class’ top players will occur tonight, when Bradley Chubb and Nick Chubb share the field in a do-or-die Broncos-Browns tilt. But Denver attempted to make the second cousins teammates on draft weekend. The Broncos attempted to trade up and select Nick Chubb, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Bradley Chubb alerted Nick of the possibility they could be teammates, but the Browns held onto their pick and selected the Georgia-developed running back. And Nick Chubb looks like Cleveland’s best backfield option in years.

Courtland Sutton soon went to Denver at No. 41, and that allowed the Broncos to collect a 2019 draft choice for Demaryius Thomas. While that trade (and the season-ending Achilles injury Emmanuel Sanders suffered) leaves the Broncos as thin at wideout as they’ve been in ages, Sutton does have an opportunity to make an impression in the Broncos’ final three games as their No. 1 target. Had the Nick Chubb-to-Denver scenario played out, third-round pick Royce Freeman likely would be elsewhere.

Shifting to other West-division teams’ plans:

  • Although the 49ers have many needs entering the offseason, wide receiver is clearly one of them. Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis will be part of next year’s core, but Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area expects San Francisco to release Pierre Garcon. Two underwhelming years have included just 16 total Garcon games (and one touchdown). This would be an interesting move because the 49ers would only save $1MM in cap space by cutting Garcon after two years; they would incur more than $7MM in dead money.
  • Expected to land a high draft pick again, the 49ers will not take a wideout with their first pick, Maiocco notes. But one may be available in Round 2, and Maiocco expects the draft to be the 49ers’ primary avenue to upgrade this position. Ole Miss talents D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown could be available. Kyle Shanahan said this offseason the 49ers were did not aggressively pursue Sammy Watkins or Allen Robinson, due to the escalating markets for those solid starters but players who don’t profile as true No. 1s.
  • Jon Gruden has shown no such hesitancy regarding free agency, having signed numerous older free agents this offseason. The Raiders should be expected to go after at least one veteran wide receiver, likely to replace Jordy Nelson, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Bair expects neither Nelson nor Seth Roberts to be on the 2019 Raiders. Neither prospective release would tag the Raiders with any dead money, though both are under contract through 2019. As for whom the Raiders could target, Golden Tate, Tyrell Williams, Randall Cobb, Jamison Crowder and John Brown may be among the players on the market.