The Minnesota Vikings sent some shockwaves across the NFL today when the news broke that they will be releasing RB Dalvin Cook. This is the same Cook who has made the Pro Bowl in all four of his six seasons with the Vikings. They are bailing on him half way through a 5-year, $63 million extension signed a couple seasons ago.
My first thought when I saw the news was, "Is this a headline we could see with the Cleveland Browns in a future season, when it comes to Nick Chubb?" Chubb is undoubtedly one of, if not the top, running back in the league. The Browns signed him to a 3-year, $36 million extension that keeps him with the club through 2024. Fans were curious if, with all the investments made to the passing game, Chubb would be offered up in a trade this year. That hasn't happened and isn't expected to, but there's still 2024.
Chubb is set to have a cap hit of $16.2 million next year, but a dead cap of $4 million if he wasn't retained. The team could opt to cut him next season, roll with a younger back, and continue leaning further on the investments they are making through the air.
Note: I am not advocating for the team moving on from Chubb. I love everything about him and believe in teams staying loyal and sticking with their core players. The release of Cook just helped reinforce that mentality that no one is safe from their talent alone, let alone the running back position once players start getting into their late-20s.