The Browns may have gone against the conventional wisdom of analytics that would discourage paying big money to running backs in signing Nick Chubb to a three-year, $36.6 million extension.
But they now have their strong tandem of Chubb and fellow running back Kareem Hunt under contract for at least the next two seasons.
At one point in 2020, it looked like both Chubb and Hunt would reach 1,000 yards rushing. That didn’t quite happen, as Hunt finished with 841 yards on the ground to Chubb’s 1,067. But together they accounted for 2,362 yards from scrimmage and 23 total touchdowns.
So as they head into another year together, Hunt is grateful to play alongside Chubb because he sees the benefits for both parties. For instance, when defenses are gassed late in games, Chubb and Hunt aren’t. That may have played a major role in Chubb averaging 10 yards per carry in the fourth quarter last season.
“I know if I’m not in the game or Nick’s not in the game and it’s third-and 3, I know Nick can get or I’ll get it,” Hunt said Tuesday, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “So, we get more opportunities by having extra first downs and stuff like that. I definitely feel we can keep each other fresh.”
Hunt, who grew up in Cleveland, also feels like the Browns have a shot at becoming a championship team this year — in part because of what he and Chubb can do in the backfield.
“We’ve still got to go out there and prove each and every week, like we will, and I know what type of players we are,” Hunt said. “I really don’t buy into all that running backs don’t matter stuff. I know a lot of running backs who can take a game over by themselves.”
Chubb likely would be one of them, especially in the fourth quarter. But with Hunt on his team, he doesn’t quite need to do it. He’s got solid help.