With Nick Chubb Extended, Who Should the Browns Extend Next?

With Nick Chubb Extended, Who Should the Browns Extend Next?

Danny Cunningham
3 years ago
3 min read
With Nick Chubb Extended, Who Should Browns Extend Next?

When Browns general manager Andrew Berry was able to ink running back Nick Chubb to a three-year contract extension last weekend, it signaled an accomplishment for the second-year executive. It also signaled the start of the extension process Berry is going to continue to navigate.

It’s no secret that Chubb deserved to be paid handsomely, and the argument can be made that he deserved more than what he ultimately agreed to with the Browns. With that said, it’s a win for both sides. Chubb solidifies his status contractually as a top running back in the NFL, has the chance to ink another big deal in three years, and the Browns have their backfield workhorse for the foreseeable future.

But if the Browns are going to continue to build towards becoming a consistent winner, Chubb’s extension needs to be the first glimpse at how this process works for the Browns, not a one-off. The Browns haven’t been in this situation since they returned to play in 1999, mostly because they haven’t drafted nearly well enough to warrant handing out extensions.

Who's Next?

Now, it’s fair to say more extensions are going to follow for Berry and Co. Cornerback Denzel Ward is extension eligible, as is offensive lineman Wyatt Teller, and obviously franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield, too. With Chubb already inked, it’s interesting to think which direction the Browns could turn next. Mayfield and Chubb both already are under contract for the 2022 season, by virtue of the team exercising their fifth-year options that come standard on first-round contracts. Teller is in the same category that Chubb was in, becoming a free agent when the league calendar flips to 2022 next March.

Deciding who comes next is an interest thought exercise that Berry certainly has had himself plenty of times. Teller’s free agency is the closest to arriving, while Mayfield plays the most important position in sports and Ward being able to lockdown the opposition’s top receiver is going to be vital to the success the Browns have defensively.

Baker's New Deal?

With Mayfield playing the sport’s most vital position, the easy answer is that he should be the candidate to be extended next, and should have been the first in line. That’s a fair take, and not necessarily a wrong one, but it also may not be how things play out. At this point, there’s been enough noise to think that Mayfield’s extension may be put on the back burner until 2022. Not because he doesn’t deserve one now, but an impressive season this year on top of last year’s success would only garner more money for the former No. 1 overall pick, and the higher salary cap would certainly help, too.

The fact that Mayfield is under contract for next season is a big help here, too. If he were going to reach unrestricted free agency following this season, every siren would be blaring and alarm would be ringing to get a deal done, but time is on everyone’s side still.

Ward's New Deal?

The same can be said of Ward in terms of contract length, but he should have more motivation to get something done with the team this summer rather than next offseason. Ward has certainly had a successful career to date in the NFL with the Browns, but he’s had trouble staying on the field because of injuries. Playing that position certainly gives him a greater chance to be injured than Mayfield at the quarterback position, and if the Browns and Ward should be close to a deal, it would be in everyone’s best interest to make it complete.

Teller's New Deal?

As for Teller, he’s a bit of a one-year wonder, and handing out an extension to him could prove to be a bit irresponsible. It’s not that Teller isn’t good, he was legitimately great in 2020, it’s that the Browns haven’t seen enough of Teller being great to justify tying up future cap space in a substantial extension. If Teller has the same caliber of season this year as he did last year, that money will be there, whether it’s from the Browns or another team in free agency, but it may not be the wisest move to dish out one now.

While it’s incredibly enticing to say that Mayfield should be locked up next – and not all incorrect – the most likely scenario probably includes negotiating with Ward to make sure that the hometown corner doesn’t call anywhere other than the Buckeye State his home for the foreseeable future.

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