The Cleveland Browns have the looks of a dominant defense, which makes them a dangerous team in the 2023 season. However, we saw on Monday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers that it may not matter.
Deshaun Watson had an embarrassing performance against the Steelers, leading to the offense torpedoing the Browns’ chances of winning. Watson getting things going on offense is going to become a lot tougher now that he won’t have Nick Chubb leading his backfield.
Chubb suffered a gruesome knee injury in the second quarter against Pittsburgh that will end his season prematurely and potentially put his career in jeopardy. Jerome Ford did a good job stepping into the lineup for him in relief and the Browns did re-sign Kareem Hunt.
Alas, replacing what Chubb brought to the field will be virtually impossible with the current group of players Cleveland has. This is partly why Dan Graziano of ESPN put together a hypothetical trade that results in the Browns landing Indianapolis Colts star, Jonathan Taylor.
Over at ESPN, insiders took over the role of general manager and put together some deals centered around landing Taylor. Graziano represented the Browns, who now have a gaping hole in their backfield that Taylor would fill instantly.
“The Browns unfortunately have a serious need they didn’t have last week, having lost superstar back Nick Chubb to a season-ending left knee injury Monday night. Their identity is so tied to their run game, their quarterback looks so bad and there aren’t many backs with the character and skill set to replace everything Chubb gives them. They signed Kareem Hunt on Wednesday, but there’s a reason he was still a free agent into the season. Trading for Taylor likely would mean Hunt would go back on the market.
The Colts get back a pick in the same round where they took Taylor in 2020, and they’re rid of an ugly situation. The Browns still owe Chubb nearly $12 million in (non-guaranteed) salary in 2024, so the situation gets complicated if Taylor requires a new contract in order to play for them. Chubb’s future is somewhat up in the air at the moment, though, and the Browns have the cap space to dump a whole bunch of money into this year if they need to do so to get a deal done for Taylor.”
What could a trade between the Browns and Colts look like? Graziano suggested that Cleveland send a 2024 second-round pick to Indianapolis in exchange for the star running back.
In the exercise, that wasn’t the deal that got accepted. But, it would be a solid offer for the Browns to present. The Colts are recouping a premium Day 2 pick which could be high in the second round should Watson not get things on track offensively.
However, that falls short of what Indianapolis was reportedly looking for in a trade package. They were seeking a first-round pick and were looking for wide receiver help as well. But, if they want to actually get a trade done, their demands are going to have to become more realistic.