Nick Chubb is a problem at the running back position—not for his team, but for opposing defenses. He has, quite easily, been one of the very best pure runners in the NFL for the past three seasons since the Cleveland Browns drafted him early in the second round. And now he’s going to be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ problem for at least another three years.
Just at the start of training camp, as Chubb was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, the two sides agreed to terms on a deal that extends his contract three more years, and includes a total of $36.6 million in new money, an average of $12.2 million per new year added to the deal.
More than half of that total, $20 million, comes fully guaranteed. Chubb will be 29 years old now the next time that he is scheduled to be a free agent, in 2025. He has been critical to the Browns’ offense, which finally showed serious life last season.
In spite of the fact that he missed four games in 2020, Chubb still managed to rush for 1,067 yards on just 190 carries, averaging an eye-popping 5.6 yards per carry. He also recorded a career-high 12 rushing touchdowns. He has averaged at least five yards per carry in each of his first three seasons.
He first made the Pro Bowl in 2019, during which he started 16 games. That season, he carried the ball 298 times, rushing for 1,494 yards with eight touchdowns. That yardage total ranks fourth in Browns history for a single season. Jim Brown owns the top three totals, including 1,863 yards in a 14-game 1963 season.
But if you start comparing every running back to Jim Brown, then you’re not going to get anywhere. He is regarded by many as the single greatest football player in the history of the game, so those are pretty lofty standards, but Chubb is already making his case for being the second-best back in Browns history.
And now he’ll have at least four more years to prove it, serving as a crucial supplement for quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was drafted in the same year. as mentioned, Cleveland’s offense has leaned a lot on the running game over the past three seasons when they have been successful, but it’s about one part of the game working off of the other.
Of course, the big question remaining this offseason is whether or not the Browns are going to get Mayfield extended as well. They extended Myles Garrett last offseason entering year three, so they set a precedent there. Denzel Ward, also a first-round pick in 2018, would like an extension before the season starts as well, so that’s yet another decision on their plate, but there is time.