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Three Players The Cleveland Browns Need To Extend Right Now
The roster for the 2021 Browns is largely set, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about 2022 and beyond. There are still a number of players on this team whose contracts either run up after this season or are simply too valuable to not negotiate with now and run the risk of losing them for nothing.
That being said, here are three players the Browns need to extend sooner rather than later.
1. RB Nick Chubb
In three seasons with the Browns, Chubb has more than proven himself to be an elite, every-down back. But the 25-year old is entering his final season under his rookie contract, where unrestricted free agency awaits soon thereafter if the Browns do not ink him to an extension.
Even with Kareem Hunt in the backfield for two more seasons, re-signing Chubb is one of the highest priorities for general manager Andrew Berry. Even with the concern about signing running backs to second contracts, he has shown no signs of slowing down in an offense that is built for his success.
Chubb may look at Saints RB Alvin Kamara and Vikings RB Dalvin Cook for inspiration, as each of them signed five-year extensions worth over $60 million near the beginning of their fourth and final seasons in their rookie deals. Cleveland could also decide to re-sign him after the season, much like the Titans did a couple of years ago with Derrick Henry. Either way, Chubb is a guy you want on your team for the next few years.
2. CB Denzel Ward
In addition to Mayfield, the Browns used a high first-round pick on Ward. Since being drafted, Ward has allowed a passer rating under 80 in each of his three years while also being named to the Pro Bowl. And though he still has this year and next under contract, getting an extension done soon may be in Cleveland’s best interest.
Ward is Cleveland’s unquestioned CB1 in a league where having a solid secondary is critical for survival. While he’s not one of the game’s very best corners, he is still well above average at just 24 years of age.
The one concern the Browns might have is injury, as Ward has missed 12 of Cleveland’s 50 games with him on the roster. But waiting any longer and him getting even better may put the Browns in a tough spot of having to pay him somewhere in the range of Buffalo’s Tre’Davious White or Miami’s Byron Jones, each of whom is earning around $55 million in guaranteed money.
3. RG Wyatt Teller
Four out of five members on Cleveland’s outstanding offensive line are under contract past 2021. The odd man out is Teller, who, after making $2.2 million this season, is set to hit free agency. The Browns know it would be crazy to let him get there.
Since being acquired from the Bills in 2019 for two low draft picks, Teller has been one of the best guards in football, earning second-team All-Pro honors in 2020. His value is evident by the fact that two of Cleveland’s worst three games on offense last season came when the former fifth-round pick was inactive.
Assuming he gets top-five guard money, Teller is probably looking at a deal that nets him around $12 million per season. That amount seems well worth it for a valuable part of your line and for a young player who is continuing to improve year after year.
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