Predicting “bold moves” during an NFL offseason often seems pointless until even “bolder” moves happen that no one could have expected.
The Cleveland Browns are well acquainted with bold moves as GM Andrew Berry has been ultra-aggressive in his role since coming on in 2020. Every offseason, Berry has signed at least one big-name player at the top of the free agent list or made a huge trade, or both.
Last year, for example, the Browns traded for both Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper. In 2020, Jack Conklin and Austin Hooper were at the top of the free agent board and John Johnson III was similar in 2021.
Unfortunately, only Conklin and Cooper have paid off so far for Cleveland with Hooper and Johnson gone and Watson yet to capture his old form.
ESPN looked to predict a bold move for every team this offseason (subscriber, $) so we had to take a look at what they predicted for the Browns. Quickly, we found out that their bold move was, perhaps, just an unlikely move:
Trade Nick Chubb
The article hits on Watson’s contract, the need to revamp the passing game and Chubb’s cap hit going up to $15 million this year. What ESPN doesn’t talk about is what they would expect in return outside of that Chubb “retains value and get a strong return.”
Unless Cleveland got blown away with an offer, trading Chubb just to save salary cap space goes against what Berry has shown throughout his time as general manager and where the team hopes to be this season. If the Browns could get a top receiver or defensive lineman, perhaps the discussion would change but the NFL doesn’t value running backs as much as fans do so a strong deal is unlikely.
With Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson likely leaving in free agency, Chubb becomes even more important. If Jerome Ford has a strong 2023 season, its possible the team could revisit the idea of trading Chubb in 2024 but that is a lot of ifs.
What trade would you make for Chubb? Any realistic ones?