Nick Chubb

Baker Mayfield Not Expected To Miss Time

Already battling a fractured shoulder, Baker Mayfield left Sunday’s game in New England with a knee injury. The Browns are not likely to need another Case Keenum fill-in start, however.

Neither Mayfield nor Kevin Stefanski expect a second missed start, though the fourth-year quarterback said (via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, on Twitter) this is probably the most beat up he has been in his football career. Mayfield is not practicing Wednesday.

Mayfield escaped his latest injury without structural damage, suffering a knee contusion in the Browns’ loss to the Patriots. Mayfield’s shoulder issue did require one missed game, a narrow Week 7 win over the Broncos, but he has otherwise played through that issue — one that will almost certainly require offseason surgery. The Browns face the 0-8-1 Lions in Week 11.

As for Mayfield’s backfield, Nick Chubb remains on the Browns’ reserve/COVID-19 list. The Pro Bowl back is vaccinated and can return by submitting negative tests two days apart. Stefanski added Kareem Hunt will not return in Week 11, despite being eligible to do so. The fifth-year back has missed four games with his calf injury but is moving closer to returning. Demetric Felton also remains on Cleveland’s COVID list. The Browns activated running back John Kelly from their virus list.

The Browns have played without both Chubb and Hunt twice this season. D’Ernest Johnson was the last man standing in both games, and the ex-Alliance of American Football performer would start against the Lions if Chubb is not activated by Saturday afternoon. In his third Browns season, Johnson is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/9/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Browns Rule Out Nick Chubb For Week 6

One half of the NFL’s top rushing duo will miss Week 6. The Browns have ruled out Nick Chubb for their key interconference Cardinals matchup due to a calf injury.

Chubb’s ailment kept him out of practice all week. Listed on Cleveland’s injury report with knee and wrist issues, Kareem Hunt missed two practices but went through Friday’s workout in a limited capacity. Hunt is questionable to play Sunday.

Both Chubb and Hunt rank in the top 10 in rushing through five games. Chubb operates as the Browns’ starter, however, and his 523 rushing yards trail only Derrick Henry this season. Chubb amassed a season-high 161 yards in the Browns’ 47-42 loss to the Chargers but came into this week with the calf malady.

During his four-year career, Chubb has only missed one previous stretch — due to the MCL sprain he suffered midway through last season. He returned from that four-game absence to make a second straight Pro Bowl and power the Browns to their first playoff berth since 2002. Chubb signed a three-year, $36.6MM extension this summer.

The Browns have listed several starters — including Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and Jedrick Wills — as questionable. Neither Wills nor right tackle Jack Conklin practiced Friday, putting them in jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game. Wills missed Cleveland’s shootout loss with an ankle injury, while Conklin left the game with a knee issue.

Luckily, Chubb is not expected to go on IR, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). In fact, head coach Kevin Stefanski indicated that Chubb could be back on the field for Cleveland’s Thursday night matchup against the Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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).