The Cleveland Browns' season had the potential to be upended by Nick Chubb's injury. However, backup Jerome Ford already looks capable of stepping up, while Kareem Hunt has been re-signed to provide some veteran support.
With the Halloween trade deadline approaching, though, that won't stop speculation of Cleveland making a potentially big move at running back. In fact, an ESPN insider has added to the buzz surrounding the Browns and Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor.
Browns Rumors: Jonathan Taylor Trade More Likely Than We Think?
Dan Graziano said in a recent column he believes Taylor will be dealt by the trade deadline, highlighting the former All-Pro "still doesn’t want to play for the Colts, and they still don’t want to give him a long-term contract."
Graziano then specifically brings up Cleveland as a possible suitor, saying the team "might end up being more motivated to make a deal than they want us to believe after the Nick Chubb injury.”
Now, Graziano isn't quoting any sources on the record here. But the fact he does have numerous connections around the league seems to indicate there's some behind-the-scenes murmurs that are connecting the Browns and the star running back.
A trade for Taylor does make quite a bit of sense for Cleveland. They'd instantly acquire one of the league's top RB talents again, immediately adding a player who's capable of carrying an offense like Chubb has. With the latter's long-term concerns after such a significant injury, the 24-year-old Taylor is perfectly suited to carry the torch for seasons to come.
Ford, Hunt and Pierre Strong are a decent backfield, but that hinges on Ford remaining a touchdown-scoring machine. Once opponents have more film on him, there's no guarantee he continues his torrid pace. Meanwhile, Hunt likely needs a few weeks to get back into his top form, and Strong doesn't instill fear in anyone
This is the dilemma the Browns face. They could acquire a perfect Chubb replacement, but it requires significant investment in terms of draft capital and a contract extension. On the other hand, they could ride it out with Ford and see if he's got the potential to be the next great Cleveland RB.
Super Bowl contenders unfortunately don't have the luxury of playing the waiting game, so the Browns will need to decide in a hurry. A Taylor trade would undoubtedly raise this team's ceiling, but the cost remains a major hurdle.
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