Nick Chubb

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.

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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.

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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.

Poll: Which Rookie RB Will Rush For Most Yards In 2018?

In selecting their third first-round running back of this century, the Giants continued to show how they regard this position despite its marginalization over the past several years. Saquon Barkley is the odds-on favorite to win offensive rookie of the year.

However, the running back position produces annual mid- or late-round surprises — from Devonta Freeman to Jordan Howard to Kareem Hunt — that end up providing immense value to certain teams. The Giants obviously have an incredibly gifted ball-carrier set to take handoffs from Eli Manning, but which of Barkley’s peers is in the best position to challenge him (and the quarterback contingent) for the OROY honor?

The other two first-round RBs look to be less equipped for a strong challenge due to circumstances.

Sony Michel‘s prospects of being an immediate ground producer may have been better on a different team. While the Patriots boast one of the NFL’s best offensive lines, Bill Belichick notoriously finds myriad usages for his backs and involves nearly all of them. Although, Dion Lewis‘ departure after a 180-carry season opens the door for someone to take over as New England’s primary back. And Michel averaged 7.9 yards per carry on 156 totes at Georgia last season. Rashaad Penny looks to be behind Chris Carson to start the season, and the surprise first-rounder may be given time to develop for a Seattle team that’s struggled on the ground for a few years now.

After Round 1, however, it becomes a bit more interesting. The Buccaneers did not possess a formidable depth chart at running back prior to investing their second-round pick in USC’s Ronald Jones. In 2017, Jones rushed for 1,550 yards and scored 20 total touchdowns. He could well be an early-season starter, with the likes of Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber in his path toward a first-string role. Chosen just before Jones, Nick Chubb will have to contend with Carlos Hyde in Cleveland this season for the revamped Browns. Chubb, though, notched three 1,000-yard seasons in the nation’s toughest conference.

Kerryon Johnson looks to be set to start in a committee in Detroit, but the Lions have been desperate for a surefire ground producer for years now. And they view Johnson as a three-down backLeGarrette Blount and Ameer Abdullah reside in the Motor City carries picture, but neither would impede Johnson from a major role if he proves ready from the outset. Derrius Guice could have a quicker path to playing time in Washington. Considered by some the second-best back in this draft, the LSU product fell largely because of character concerns. However, Guice averaged 7.6 yards per carry in 2016 on nearly 200 attempts and is expected to push for the Redskins’ starting job from the start.

Also expected to challenge for an early role: the Broncos’ Royce Freeman. The Oregon-developed talent posted three 1,300-plus-yard seasons with the Ducks, amassing a staggering 947 college carries. With the Broncos having moved on from four-year starter C.J. Anderson, only Devontae Booker (299 rushing yards last season) resides in the third-rounder’s path. Is he a threat to be the 2018 version of Hunt?

As for Barkley, he has the most obvious route to a full-time gig. Despite Jonathan Stewart now being in the Big Apple, the Penn State dynamo will factor in from the start of the Giants’ season. And the three-down back totaled at least 2,300 yards from scrimmage in back-to-back years for the Nittany Lions. The Giants have questions up front, having lost Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, but they added multiple UFAs — spearheaded by Nate Solder — and chose likely Day 1 starter Will Hernandez in Round 2.

So, will Barkley’s situation be too much for the rest of this class to overcome, a la Ezekiel Elliott? Or will one of the later-round picks emerge in Hunt fashion? Is there a Day 3 dark horse in this year’s class in the mold of Freeman or Howard? Take PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Sign RB Nick Chubb

The Browns have signed rookie Nick Chubb, according to a tweet from the running back’s agency. As dictated by his slot, Chubb will receive a four-year deal worth about $7.4MM with a $3.45MM signing bonus. He’ll carry a modest cap number of $1.342MM in 2018 with modest increases between now and 2021. 

Chubb became the second of the Browns’ second-round picks this year when he was selected at No. 35 overall. After running for 1,345 yards in his final year at Georgia, Chubb holds promise as a solid all-round back at the pro level.

Many evaluators feel that Chubb is a jack of all trades, but a master of none. That’s not necessarily a major dig on Chubb, given that many running back prospects have struggled with ball security and other basics in the NFL. However, he doesn’t profile as the fastest back in the league and his lack of usage on passing downs in college leaves some mystery about his ball-catching and blocking abilities.

Fortunately for the Browns, they already have a dynamic pass-catching back in Duke Johnson and an established runner in Carlos Hyde. Chubb won’t be tasked with a large workload right off of the bat, which should allow him room to progress at a reasonable pace.

As shown on PFR’s draft pick signing tracker, the Browns have just two picks left to go in No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield and No. 4 overall choice Denzel Ward.

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Draft Rumors: Sutton, Chargers, Landry

The Cowboys exited Round 1 without taking a wide receiver, but the team is aiming for one in the second round. Dallas is hoping SMU’s Courtland Sutton is available, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. La Canfora notes the Saints are also interested in Sutton, whom some mocks had going in Round 1. New Orleans’ interest is noteworthy due to the deep arsenal of wide receivers on its roster, with Cameron Meredith now in the fold and Brandon Coleman having re-signed. But Ted Ginn is now 33. The Cowboys, conversely, need a wideout now after cutting Dez Bryant. Coupled with the news of Jason Witten‘s rumored departure and it’s logical to assume the Cowboys will exit Day 2 with a pass-catcher. Dallas’ next pick is at No. 50, and rumors of a possible Earl Thomas swap have emerged. Should the Cowboys unload their second-round selection for the All-Pro safety, they will almost certainly miss out on Sutton being there. And they may even have to trade up to land him regardless.

Here’s the latest from the draft world as Day 2 looms:

  • The Chargers have not drafted a quarterback since 2013, but La Canfora tweets a lot of buzz has surfaced about the Bolts’ interest in Mason Rudolph. Viewed as this draft’s sixth-best quarterback prospect, Rudolph may require the Chargers to trade up. The Bolts did their homework on this draft’s quarterback prospects, and that included a workout with the Oklahoma State passer.
  • And the Bolts are indeed considering a trade-up from their No. 48 position, per La Canfora, who adds the Chiefs are inquiring about a move north as well (Twitter link). Kansas City considered moving into the back end of the first round but decided against, and Brett Veach said those talks weren’t too close to producing a deal. However, the Chiefs don’t pick until No. 54 and have several needs across their defense.
  • Boston College standout pass rusher Harold Landry is still be on the board entering Round 2, and injury concerns may be at the root of it. Some teams have flagged Landry for medical reasons, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter), adding knee and back issues have impeded a possible pick. Landry played in only eight games for Boston College last season, missing time with an ankle malady. However, he registered 16.5 sacks and 22 tackles for loss as a junior in 2016. It may be up to a team that doesn’t view Landry’s issues as enough of an investment deterrent to take him off the board Friday night.
  • The Browns are high on Georgia running back Nick Chubb, La Canfora notes (via Twitter). Cleveland was linked to Saquon Barkley but didn’t have a chance to get him at No. 4. John Dorsey acquired the reigning NFL rushing champion, Kareem Hunt, in the third round last year. The Browns recently signed Carlos Hyde and have Duke Johnson entering a contract year.
  • Former Wichita State basketball player Shaq Morris has an interesting decision on his hands, it appears. Morris is determining if he will try to make an NBA push or, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter), try his hand at an NFL career. The 6-foot-7, 270-pound athlete averaged a career-high 14.0 points per game last season for the Shockers and finished as the now-American Athletic Conference program’s all-time dunks leader. Garafolo reports Morris has hired NFL agent David Canter and will entertain interest from teams. Morris played high school football and may be attempting to follow in the footsteps of Antonio GatesJulius Thomas and others whose college careers mostly commenced on basketball courts.