After an active offseason, the Browns have made another significant move with the start of the regular season on the horizon. The club and running back Nick Chubb have agreed in principle on a three-year, $36.6 million extension that includes $20 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. A Pro Bowler each of the last two seasons, Chubb was entering the final year of his rookie contract. The extension will keep him under contract through the 2024 season.
The fourth running back selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, Chubb has blossomed into one of the NFL's best running backs and expressed his desire to remain in Cleveland during the team's mandatory minicamp.
"It would mean a lot," Chubb said, per the Associated Press. "Cleveland drafted me however many years ago it was and trusted me and put their faith in me to come here and help build this culture.
"I feel like Cleveland is where I want to be and hopefully, everything can work out in that direction."
The former Georgia Bulldog recently came in at No. 6 on CBS Sports NFL writer Patrik Walker's list of the league's top 10 running backs. Last season, despite missing four games to injury, Chubb rumbled for 1,067 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 5.6 yards per carry. In Cleveland's wild-card playoff win over the Steelers, Chubb amassed 145 all-purpose yards that included a game-clinching, 40-yard touchdown off of a screen pass from Baker Mayfield.
Chubb and fellow running back Kareem Hunt will again be asked to be key contributors in what Browns fans are hoping will be a memorable 2021 season. The Browns' championship hopes have been buoyed by an impressive offseason.
In free agency, they signed safety John Johnson III and cornerback Troy Hill, two players who helped the Rams boast the league's top-ranked pass defense last season. The Browns further strengthened their defense with the signings of veterans Jadeveon Clowney, Takk McKinley and Malik Jackson. Cleveland's defense got even better after selecting cornerback Greg Newsome II in the first round and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the second round.
Lost in the shuffle of Cleveland's draft picks was former Auburn receiver Anthony Schwartz and former Cincinnati offensive tackle James Hudson. Both players will look to serve as valuable depth for a Browns offense that is filled with top-end talent.
Cleveland's offense will welcome back Odell Beckham Jr. after Beckham missed most of the 2020 season with an injury. The Browns also have high hopes for Mayfield, whose own contract has been a topic of conversation this offseason. Mayfield celebrated the news of Chubb's extension shortly after it was made public.
NICHOLAS JAMAL CHUBB!!!!!— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) July 31, 2021
The league's leading rusher in 2017, Hunt feels that he and Chubb can become the eighth pair of teammates to each rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season. In doing so, the Browns would become the first franchise to have two different sets of teammates accomplish that fear. In 1985, Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack rushed for 1,002 and 1,104 yards respectively while helping the Browns capture an AFC Central Division title during Marty Schottenheimer's first full season as Cleveland's coach.
"I believed it was possible last year, too, but some things happened," Hunt told Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com earlier this summer. "We'll learn from it and get better and hopefully continue to put in good work this year."