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Browns Predicted To Retain Major Offensive Playmaker

The Cleveland Browns are starting their offseason earlier than they were hoping to. After winning 11 games in the regular season, and earning the top Wild Card spot in the AFC, they had to go on the road to play the Houston Texans during Super Wild Card Weekend.

It was a brutal trip for the Browns, who were blown out by the Texans. They lost the game 45-14 as they got blitzed early and were never able to recover as their magic ran out. Now eliminated, it is time for Cleveland to get to work on their offseason plans.

One of their orders of business is getting cap-compliant. The Browns are currently over the projected salary cap and will require some work. The front office will have a few difficult decisions to make when it comes to releasing players or reworking some contracts to lower their cap hits.

NFL News & Rumors: Nick Chubb & Cleveland Browns Updates

A player who could be on the chopping block is star running back, Nick Chubb. Chubb’s 2023 season was cut short after suffering a serious knee injury in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Despite that injury, NFL writer Aaron Schatz of ESPN has made a bold prediction about his future with the franchise. Schatz not only believes Chubb will return to the Browns, but they will work out a long-term deal with him.

“Despite questions about his return from a knee injury, the Browns will sign Chubb to an extension which will allow them to keep him past the 2024 season, while also lowering his cap charge to help the Browns get under the number. A big running back contract may surprise some coming from the analytically forward Browns, but advanced analytics generally portray Chubb as one of the few running backs who truly makes a difference. (For example, he always excels at the NFL Next Gen Stats rushing yards over expectation metric, where he leads the NFL since 2021 with 597.),” wrote Schatz.

Long-term deals for running backs have become rare in the NFL. The position has been devalued around the league by front offices, convinced they can plug-and-play late-round draft picks and receive similar production for a fraction of the price.

NFL News & Rumors: Nick Chubb & Cleveland Browns Updates

But, as Schatz pointed out, Chubb is one of the few running backs in the league who legitimately warrant the kind of long-term deal teams have been hesitant to hand out. When on the field he is the hub of their offensive game plan, averaging an impressive 5.3 yards per carry in his career.

Not only is he integral to their on-field success, but re-signing him to a long-term deal would help the team’s salary cap situation. A front office as analytically driven knows the risk in signing a running back to a long-term deal, but the positives outweigh the negatives in his instance.

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