Sep 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) approaches Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Alex Highsmith (56) during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Browns, RB Nick Chubb agree to restructured deal

Browns general manager Andrew Berry insisted he would find a way to keep running back Nick Chubb in Cleveland.

According to multiple reports, the Browns and Chubb agreed to a restructured deal to take his scheduled base salary of $15.85 million down to $11.775 million with the ability to recoup the difference in performance incentives.

Chubb, 28, is recovering from multiple knee surgeries following a season-ending left knee injury in Week 2 of the 2023 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and recent reports indicate a plan from the franchise to be “conservative” with the decision to put the All-Pro back on the field.

Chubb was hurt in September on a tackle by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The direct contact with Chubb’s left knee, the same one that required reconstructive surgery at Georgia in 2015, caused an extreme hyperextension and ripped three ligaments.

Berry said in January he didn’t want to see that injury be Chubb’s final carry in Cleveland.

Chubb has 1,238 career carries for 6,511 yards and 48 touchdowns since Cleveland took Chubb in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) is taken from the field on a cart after suffering an apparent injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Browns GM, RB Nick Chubb to huddle, talk contract

INDIANAPOLIS — Armchair general managers appear to be off the mark projecting a Browns offense without running back Nick Chubb in 2024.

Entering the final year of a three-year contract with Cleveland, Chubb’s base salary of $11.8 million pushes his cap hit for next season over $15 million. That’s a hefty amount for a running back in the NFL, not to mention one in the middle of the rehabilitation phase of his recovery from a season-ending, multiple-ligament replacement knee surgery.

“Yeah, he’s done a great job,” Browns general manager Andrew Berry said of Chubb’s rehab. “You guys know Nick — he works his tail off. He does everything in his power to make sure that he can recover as quickly as possible. It still is very early and we’re what, six months away from training camp? So to say anything more definitively than I did in the middle of January, it would probably be inaccurate.”

Berry believes there is a path forward for Chubb in Cleveland, backing up what he said last month about avoiding seeing the team’s leading rusher end his time with the team on a season-ending injury. Chubb’s season ended in September at Pittsburgh and required multiple surgeries to fully repair damage to the meniscus, medial capsule, MCL and ACL in his left knee.

Releasing Chubb, 28, would save the Browns $11.83 million, but a greater savings could be available through a restructure laden with incentives. But that’s only possible if Chubb agrees to the altered deal.

He had 170 yards on 28 carries in 2023. The four-time Pro Bowl selection topped 1,000 rushing yards in each of the past four seasons, gaining a career-high 1,525 in 2022. Chubb had 996 yards as a rookie in 2018 before beginning his streak of 1,000-yard seasons.

A meeting is set with Chubb’s agents to find a middle ground. But Berry didn’t want to set any odds on the Browns getting a restructured contract done.

“I understand that Nick is a popular discussion point. I meant what I said about him at the end of the season,” Berry said. “Any conversations that we have with him or his reps honestly will stay between us. If anything were to change with the status, you guys would be the first to know when that does happen.”

But if Berry is hoping to get a hometown discount, he might’ve overplayed his cards Tuesday when discussing the rollercoaster running game without him.

“Obviously Nick’s one in a million, and maybe he is one in a billion actually, and so we’re not going to get the consistent explosive runs that you get with the best back in football,” Berry said.

The rehab room has been popular at the Browns’ headquarters in Berea, Ohio with three offensive tackles returning from season-ending injuries and quarterback Deshaun Watson working his way back from shoulder surgery.

“Deshaun will begin throwing next month. He’s worked his tail off in terms of his rehab and recovery. He’s in a really good place,” Berry said. “We’re excited when the spring hits and we can get him back on the field.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker (55) returns an interception for a touchdown  during the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins activate LB Jerome Baker off IR

The Miami Dolphins activated linebacker Jerome Baker from injured reserve on Saturday, one day before the AFC East showdown with the Buffalo Bills.

Miami opened the roster spot for Baker by putting star linebacker Bradley Chubb on IR. Chubb, who has 11 sacks this season, tore the ACL in his right knee during last weekend’s 56-19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

The game between the Dolphins (11-5) and Bills (10-6) will determine the champion of the AFC East.

Baker injured the MCL in his left knee in a victory over the Washington Commanders on Dec. 3. He missed the past four games.

Baker, who turned 27 on Dec. 25, has 69 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions (one returned for touchdown) in 12 games this season.

He has been one of Miami’s steadiest defensive players during his six-year NFL career. He has recorded 100 or more tackles three times and has 22.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and five interceptions in 93 career games (82 starts).

Miami also elevated linebacker Melvin Ingram and cornerback Ethan Bonner to the active roster for Sunday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Browns coach: RB Kareem Hunt will play Sunday

Newly re-signed running back Kareem Hunt will see action Sunday for the Cleveland Browns against the Tennessee Titans.

“Kareem’s going to play. He’s ready to play,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday.

How much he plays remains to be determined as the Browns adjust to the loss of four-time 1,000-yard rusher Nick Chubb to a season-ending knee injury.

Hunt, 28, signed a reported one-year deal worth up to $4 million on Wednesday to rejoin Cleveland, where he played the previous four seasons.

Hunt has rushed for 4,025 yards and 31 touchdowns and caught 211 passes for 1,806 yards and 17 TDs in 76 games (36 starts) with the Kansas City Chiefs (2017-18) and Browns.

Hunt led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards as a Chiefs rookie in 2017, earning a Pro Bowl selection and Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Kansas City drafted the Ohio native in the third round out of Toledo.

While Hunt’s role is unclear, Stefanski said multiple times this week that Jerome Ford will be the featured back for the Browns (1-1) on Sunday against the visiting Titans (1-1).

–Field Level Media

Jan 21, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) looks for room to run against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFC divisional round game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Chubb on RB pay: ‘There’s really nothing we can do’

A group of top NFL running backs met via Zoom to discuss the salaries being paid at the position, and Cleveland Browns star Nick Chubb had a sobering message for his fellow running backs.

“Right now, there’s really nothing we can do,” Chubb told ESPN on Sunday.

Chubb confirmed to the outlet that he was among the players to take part in the videoconference on Saturday, which Pro Football Talk reported was the brainchild of Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers. Chubb said Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry and Saquon Barkley were among the running backs who joined in.

The meeting came on the heels of Barkley (New York Giants), Josh Jacobs (Las Vegas Raiders) and Tony Pollard (Dallas Cowboys) all being unable to reach multi-year contracts ahead of the deadline for franchise-tagged players.

ESPN said the running backs brainstormed ideas but did not come up with any plans to address ways to boost their pay.

“We’re kind of handcuffed with the situation. We’re the only position that our production hurts us the most,” Chubb said, per ESPN. “If we go out there and run 2,000 yards with so many carries, the next year they’re going to say, you’re probably worn down. It’s tough. … It hurts us at the end of the day.”

Barkley and Jacobs both were franchise tagged by their teams but have not signed their franchise tenders, worth $10.09 million for the 2023 season. Pollard signed his tag and is expected to report to training camp. Barkley and Jacobs are not, per ESPN.

The average salary for an NFL running back is $1.76 million, which is about $1 million less than the average for a player on offense, according to Spotrac. The average salary for a left tackle is $8.95 million, by contrast.

McCaffrey is playing on a four-year, $64 million contract extension signed with the Carolina Panthers — the highest annual average pay at the position.

“This is Criminal,” McCaffrey tweeted about the contract situations facing Barkley, Jacobs and Pollard. “Three of the best PLAYERS in the entire league, regardless of position.”

Chubb agreed.

“We’re definitely in a tough situation, running backs as a whole,” he said. “Saquon’s a great player and you can ask anyone around the league or even on the Giants how much he means to that team. So it’s hard seeing him not get what he deserves.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Browns RB Nick Chubb practices, will play Saturday

Browns running back Nick Chubb practiced for the first time this week and plans to play against the Saints on Saturday.

Chubb (foot) is third in the NFL in rushing (1,252 yards) and third in touchdowns (12) with three weeks left in the 2022 season.

The Browns ruled out defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (concussion), who missed practice for the third consecutive day.

Myles Garrett joined Chubb with his first practice of the week and is on track to play against New Orleans.

“Looked normal. Nick looked good,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “Myles is feeling better. They look normal.”

Garrett has been ill this week. Chubb and Garrett were free of injury designations on the final report Thursday.

Safety John Johnson was also at practice and listed as questionable for this week due to a thigh injury.

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) gestures after a play in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins, new LB Bradley Chubb finalize $119M deal

Outside linebacker Bradley Chubb changed addresses on Tuesday and the newest member of the Miami Dolphins received a $111.25 million door prize on Thursday, agreeing to a five-year deal with $63.2 million guaranteed.

The contract doesn’t account for the $7.75 million remaining on Chubb’s rookie contract, which became the obligation of the Dolphins when Miami acquired the pass rusher Tuesday. All told, the Chubb contract has value of $119 million.

According to Chubb’s agents, the contract was part of the conversations that began two weeks ago between Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and Denver Broncos general manager George Paton.

Miami shipped a first-round pick in 2023, originally acquired from the San Francisco 49ers in the Trey Lance draft bonanza, to the Broncos for Chubb hours before the trade deadline Tuesday. The Dolphins also sent running back Chase Edmonds and a fourth-round pick of the 2024 NFL Draft to Denver for a 2025 fifth-round selection.

Chubb, 26, is two years removed from a torn ACL and led the Broncos with 5.5 sacks this season.

Grier said Wednesday he researched recovery and performance of pass rushers from similar injuries. That data combined with universal praise from past and present coaches for Chubb’s professionalism and work ethic fed the motive to move on Chubb now rather than wait for free agency bidding in March.

Miami has only 15 sacks this season and is in the bottom four in the NFL in most pass defense categories despite what head coach Mike McDaniel referred to as a “loaded” secondary.

Chubb was on the field with the Dolphins at Wednesday’s practice along with running back Jeff Wilson, who was the 49ers’ leading rusher this season. But Wilson became expendable when San Francisco acquired Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers.

Wilson knows the McDaniel system well. McDaniel, Rams coach Sean McVay and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan are former assistants of the Washington NFL franchise and McDaniel was offensive coordinator in San Francisco before he landed his first head-coaching job with the Dolphins.

–Field Level Media

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and coach Mike McDaniel address reporters Tuesday.

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GM Chris Grier: Dolphins, Bradley Chubb close to contract

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier chuckled at the media suggestion Miami might be a seller approaching the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday.

He was still laughing Wednesday when he met the media to discuss the deals that landed outside linebacker Bradley Chubb from the Denver Broncos and running back Jeff Wilson from the San Francisco 49ers.

“We won’t be satisfied until we win a Super Bowl,” Grier said Wednesday. “We have good players. We have a good scheme. I’m not into predictions but we have a good team with a good chance to win.”

Grier said he pulled the trigger to trade a 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 fourth-round pick and running back Chase Edmonds to the Broncos for Chubb after researching the recovery of pass rushers who’ve had torn ACLs. Chubb, 26, is two years removed from the injury and led the Broncos with 5.5 sacks. The Dolphins are already well down the road with Chubb on a long-term contract.

“We anticipate having something finished up here shortly,” he said.

The deals capitalized on the multiple picks received from the 49ers in 2020 to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 for quarterback Trey Lance. Since making those deals, Grier and the Dolphins used San Francisco’s original ammunition to draft wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, acquire wide receiver Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs and finally on Tuesday, land Chubb from Denver.

“”Oh, this is where I found old dealer Chris! I thought you’d be in Vegas dealing!” a jovial Mike McDaniel said Wednesday, storming Grier’s press conference for the start of the coach’s media session. “Did you talk about how well the team is coached?”

Grier and McDaniel pointed to one common reason the Dolphins were able to make the Chubb deal: the play of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa leads the NFL in passer rating (112.7) and yards per attempt (9.02) with Hill leading the NFL in receiving yards (961). Despite a scary head injury and previous durability questions, McDaniel said he and Grier are firmly on the side of the fence that Tagovailoa is the right quarterback for their team.

It eased any worry about parting with 2023 first-round draft picks.

“I fully see Tua as the quarterback for this team and this franchise,” McDaniel said. “He’s a great talent. Since I’ve been here I’ve kind of known.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) gestures after a play in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Bradley Chubb trade has modest impact on Dolphins’ odds

The Miami Dolphins were widely praised after acquiring Bradley Chubb ahead of the NFL’s trade deadline, but it failed to move the needle for many oddsmakers.

DraftKings told Field Level Media that the sportsbooks shifted the Dolphins Super Bowl odds from +3500 to +3000 after the deal was announced Tuesday. Their AFC Championship odds also shortened from +1800 to +1600 while their odds of winning the AFC East were trimmed from +1200 to +100.

However, BetMGM reported no movement in the Dolphins’ futures markets in the wake of the deal. In fact, the sportsbook told Field Level Media that no NFL team futures were impacted by trades announced on Tuesday.

BetRivers did not move Miami’s lines following news of the Chubb trade, although the Dolphins’ Super Bowl odds have shortened to +2500 from +3000 the previous day. Their championship odds also shifted from +1400 to +1200 and their divisional odds from +1000 to +900.

Chubb, 26, was considered the prized defender available at the trade deadline. The 2018 first-round pick had 26 career sacks for the Denver Broncos, with 5.5 of them coming this season as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme – the same scheme employed by Miami.

The Dolphins parted with their first-round selection next year in a package of draft picks sent to Denver in a bold move to upgrade a pass rush that has produced only 15 sacks through eight games. Chubb will now comprise a formidable duo with Jaelen Phillips, who leads Miami with 3.0 sacks.

Miami (5-3) is 26th in the NFL in yards per play (5.89) and passing yards per game (262.1) and 28th in passing yards per attempt at 7.33 yards per pass.

The Dolphins are also expected to work on a long-term extension with Chubb, who is playing on the $7.06 million fifth-year option picked up by Denver.

Miami also parted with backup running back Chase Edmonds as part of the Broncos deal. However, the Dolphins quickly replaced him by shipping a 2023 fifth-round pick to San Francisco for Jeff Wilson, who will reunite with former 49ers backfield mate Raheem Mostert.

Wilson, 26, carried the ball 92 times for 468 yards with two touchdowns in eight games (six starts). The 49ers’ acquisition of former All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey made Wilson expendable.

Edmonds, 26, has 216 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on the season. He was a fourth-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 and was in his first season in Miami.

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) gestures after a play in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Dolphins acquire pass rusher Bradley Chubb from Broncos

Pass rusher Bradley Chubb was acquired by the Miami Dolphins from the Denver Broncos in exchange for a package of draft picks that includes a 2023 first-round selection, according to reports Tuesday.

NFL Network also reported the Dolphins were trading a 2023 fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for running back Jeff Wilson Jr.

The Dolphins pledged to work toward a long-term contract extension with Chubb as part of the deal with Denver, ESPN reported.

Chubb has 26 career sacks, including 5.5 this season playing outside linebacker in the base 3-4 defense of the Broncos. Miami employs the same scheme.

The fifth overall pick in 2018, Chubb is playing on the fifth-year option picked up by Denver with a base salary of $7.06 million

Denver will receive the first-round pick that went to the Dolphins as part of San Francisco’s trade in 2021 to move to No. 3 in the draft and select quarterback Trey Lance; a fourth-round pick in 2024; and running back Chase Edmonds, per reports.

The Broncos are sending a fifth-round pick in 2025 to Miami along with Chubb.

Draft capital should benefit the Broncos.

Denver traded two first-round picks among a package of draft choices to acquire quarterback Russell Wilson in March. By sending Chubb to the Dolphins, the Broncos recoup one first-rounder.

Chubb, 26, gives Miami a strong pair of quarterback-chasing edge defenders as he pairs with Jaelen Phillips. Phillips leads the Dolphins with three sacks.

The Dolphins have a total of 15 sacks, which is in the bottom third of the NFL, in eight games.

Miami (5-3) is 26th in the NFL in yards per play (5.89) and passing yards per game (262.1) and 28th in passing yards per attempt at 7.33 yards per pass.

Wilson, 26, carried the ball 92 times for 468 yards with two touchdowns in eight games (six starts). The 49ers’ acquisition of All-Pro RB Christian McCaffrey made Wilson a trade candidate, however.

Edmonds, 26, has 216 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on the season. He was a fourth-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 and was in his first season in Miami.

–Field Level Media