With Nick Chubb’s agreement, the Browns have cleared their first major contractual obstacle in the next 12 months, and they aren’t the only ones who are relieved.
When it came to inquiries about his contract and future in Cleveland, Chubb, the polar antithesis of a loudmouth, remained relatively silent during the offseason. When asked about his future, the 25-year-old went about his business as usual, preparing for another season as an important element of the Browns’ offense and saying the right things.
Then, on Saturday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport announced Chubb’s three-year, $36.6 million contract extension, which includes $20 million in guaranteed money and a $12 million signing bonus. Consider the issue to be resolved.
“I am relieved it is behind us now,” Chubb told reporters Monday. “Just coming out here ready to practice. I know all of that has been handled. It is taken care of. I am very happy where I am. I get to come out here and focus on getting better every day.”
Chubb’s new contract keeps him in Cleveland until 2024, continuing a relationship that has been mutually beneficial at a rate well exceeding what could have been predicted when the Browns selected him with the 35th overall pick in 2018.
Chubb had departed Georgia as a member of an explosive trio of running backs who had helped the Bulldogs reach the College Football Playoff. He wasn’t considered the greatest back on his own team, with fellow Bulldog Sony Michel finishing 31st overall in the same class.
After suffering a ruptured ACL, Chubb’s career was sidetracked, and he was previously projected to be a high first-round choice. It turned out to be little more than a stumbling block after a hard treatment process.
“Yeah, it has,” Chubb said when asked if his NFL hopes and dreams came true following his knee injury. “I can say it has now, but back then, it was really blurry for me. I was not sure if I would how things would turn out, if I would ever be the same player or would I ever even play again.
“That is just something I hold onto in the back of my mind, knowing where I came from and knowing where I want to be. I can say through the help of friends, family and God I am here now in a blessed position.”
Chubb has lived up to the hype, running for 3,557 yards and 28 touchdowns in 44 games (37 starts), averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Last season, he had the highest single-season rushing yards gained over expectation per attempt mark in the Next Gen Stats era, with +1.75 yards gained over expectation per attempt. Since Next Gen began tracking the statistic in 2018, he has the two highest marks among qualified backs.
Chubb has swiftly gained a reputation for both his punishing running style, which frequently sends defenders pinballing off his body, and his breakaway speed, which he uses to complete lengthy touchdown runs. He’s also the ideal counterpart to teammate Kareem Hunt, another powerful runner who was a burgeoning superstar in Kansas City before off-field concerns forced him to return home to Cleveland.
When Hunt arrived, many people wondered how Cleveland would be able to give both backs enough touches. Fans were worried about internal strife.
Chubb and Hunt, on the other hand, were fast friends. Hunt knew just how to react when Chubb received his cash.
“Kareem said, ‘Wagyu steaks on me,'” Chubb said. “That is all he keeps saying. I know he is excited. I am excited to get out there and for me and him to get that going like we have been.”
Chubb’s extension is the latest smart move by general manager Andrew Berry, who successfully re-signed Hunt a year ago on a two-year, $12 million deal. The Browns have a pair of elite running backs in Chubb and Hunt, who will cost less than $9 million in salary space in 2021. When Chubb’s extension kicks in, the total will rise, but for now, timely additions have put the Browns in a position to have an outstanding backfield at a reasonable price.
In 2020, the Browns demonstrated that Kevin Stefanski’s zone-based design was a perfect fit for their players, finishing third in running yards per game and 16th in total offense. With both Chubb and Hunt under contract for the next two years, they’ll be able to expand on their achievements.
Cleveland still needs to figure out how to keep quarterback Baker Mayfield, guard Wyatt Teller, and cornerback Denzel Ward, but Chubb’s signing was a huge step forward for a squad that is undeniably on the rise. The extension satisfies Chubb’s financial demand in a location that is exactly where he wants to be.
“It means everything. I love it here in Cleveland,” Chubb said. “I love this team. I love the coaches. I love the position that I am in. I can’t ask for anything better than where I am. Cleveland is where I want to be. I am happy to be able to get that done so I can be here for even more years.”
Source: NFL News