It limits how much the Browns can spend on his backups
The Browns have a run-first offense and they can do that because the team has Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, D’Ernest Johnson, and rookie Demetric Felton. There’s a problem though, the Browns can only spend so much money per year on talent. That salary cap makes things hard on teams to keep guys because eventually, people have to get cut to make room under the cap.
That’s going to be an issue for the Browns as they stand right now. With nearly $25 million on just two receivers, nearly $20 million on just two tight ends, and now over $20 million on just two running backs, the team is putting up nearly $65 million on just six players. That’s well over 36% of the team’s cap.
Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham are going to have to renegotiate or risk being moved. Austin Hooper’s contract is an albatross that looks like it could be a dud of a deal. Then you have Chubb, making $12.2 million in 2022, and Hunt making $6.25 million.
Those last two contracts on their own aren’t bad but coupled with the four others and it really amplifies the cost. We’re not even counting the new deals for Baker Mayfield, Wyatt Teller, or Jack Conklin yet. All of whom will also be due to new contracts in the next year or two. All of a sudden the salary cap is shrinking fast. Eventually, something has to give.
Underpaid and over-performing runningbacks are a luxury item in today’s NFL. They become even more luxurious when you have more than one. With Chubb’s new deal, as it stands with the rest of the team today, there’s no way Hunt is returning in 2023 without taking less money. More than that, it’s far more likely that the depth of the position takes a monumental hit after he leaves as well.
There’s a lot of pressure being placed on Felton, a sixth-round pick, to develop into Hunt’s replacement. If you play the odds, more than likely Felton is gone in a few years, and the Browns will end up replacing him through the draft. Sure, it’s also possible that Felton becomes so good the Browns replace Chubb with him, that possibility exists too, it’s just far less likely.
The most likely situation is that after 2022, Felton is not living up to fan hype, and Hunt signs a bigger deal elsewhere. Can the Browns and Chubb survive without significant depth at the position? That’s a question made necessary due to the size of Chubb’s contract, and one we’ll find out one way or another.
We’re not trying to be downers here, we’re just letting you know what could happen next.