Potential Nick Chubb Successor Now Up for Grabs

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly declined the fifth-year option for RB Najee Harris. Could Harris be a potential successor for Nick Chubb in 2025?
Sep 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) warms up
Sep 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) warms up / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are looking forward to having a healthy Nick Chubb back on the field this coming season after suffering a devastating knee injury in Week 2 of the 2023 season. 

The 28-year-old star running back has been progressing well in his rebab after tearing his MCL and meniscus. Late last month, Browns general manager Andrew Berry told reporters that the Pro Bowl running back has been “running on land” and attacking his rehab aggressively since the fall.

Cleveland also restructured Chubb’s contract last month as he’s only making $2.27 million in 2024 and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025. The Browns would love to re-sign Chubb next season after he has an impressive 2024 season.

However, it’s not guaranteed that the veteran running back will look like the same guy that we’ve seen dominate the league over the last few seasons. Therefore, Cleveland needs to plan for the future and there could be a running back in their division that could be a potential option.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Thursday that the Steelers declined the fifth-year option for starting running back Najee Harris. Harris is coming off his third consecutive 1,000-yard season in the Steel City.

Last season, Harris had 1,035 rushing yards and eight touchdowns (career-high) on 255 carries. He also made some plays in the passing game with 29 receptions (38 targets) for 170 yards. It’s not a shock to see the Steelers decline Harris’ option as it would cost a pretty penny.

At the same time, the decision to decline his option, also allows the Steelers to potentially trade Harris during the regular season. 

The Steelers wouldn’t think about trading the former first-round pick to their division rival during the season. However, if Cleveland wasn’t getting great production from Chubb and Jerome Ford in 2024, and Harris hits free agency, Berry should be interested.

Harris is only 26 years old and would be a solid fit with what the Browns like to do on offense with their running backs. Nonetheless, you have to believe that every team, including Cleveland, will be watching to see what the Steelers do with Harris.

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