The Browns running back Nick Chubb has already accomplished some extraordinary things in his brief career. Now can he catch Jim Brown’s records?
As a rookie in 2018, Nick Chubb was already making a name for himself and we at DPD were already putting him in the conversation as one of the 15 best running backs in the organization’s history. He was listed at No. 14 at the time and now he’s run up that ranking and could find himself close to the top in a year or two.
From a yardage perspective, he’s already at No. 4. only behind Mike Pruitt, Leroy Kelly, and Jim Brown. Pruitt is sitting at 6,540 yards while Chubb is at 6,068 yards and within striking distance of the No. 3 spot. Chubb has had another outstanding season, now in his fifth year, racking up 1,252 yards in 14 games. His career-best mark was in 2019 when he rumbled for 1,494 yards. There’s a remote chance he can get to that mark or more in the next three games.
Chubb will be entering year six with the Browns and it could end up being the season that separates him from all the rest, with the exception of Jim Brown. If he can stay healthy, he should easily move past Mike Pruitt and then will have an excellent opportunity to jump ahead of Leroy Kelly who sits at No. 2 with 7,274 yards.
One of the most staggering statistics in all of this again has to be the sheer speed with which Chubb’s been climbing to the top. At the current moment, he has carried the ball 1,160 times.
Pruitt had 1,593 carries and Kelly had 1,727 carries, so when you consider these numbers it’s really impressive how efficient Chubb has been. If your counting, that’s a whopping 433 fewer carries compared to Pruitt who Chubb has almost overtaken, and 567 fewer carries than Kelly. It’s more than likely that by the time Chubb goes ahead of Kelly in terms of yards gained, it’ll be by 250-300 fewer carries.
Can Nick Chubb reach Jim Brown’s numbers?
When you look at Jim Brown’s numbers, they’re so much better than most that it’s almost not worth considering if someone could catch him. However, we have now entered that window in Chubb’s career and have to consider it a possibility though it’s a small chance at this juncture.
Let’s assume that Chubb overtakes Kelly’s number after next season and puts him somewhere in the 7,500 range in yards gained. From there you’re looking at Chubb needing another 4,800 yards.
There’s a lot that could occur for Chubb over the next several seasons including injuries and even the need for a new contract. Despite Chubb’s unbelievable rise to the top, will the Browns give him his next deserved contract or would they be willing to part with an aging back?
There’s been a lot of conversation, especially this season about how the team has distributed his carries — he’s typically under 20 per game. To help preserve the health of Chubb, that could be a strategy by the club to get more from their back over the upcoming seasons.
Chubb’s current contract stretches over the next two years, and he becomes a potential free agent in 2024. He’s getting ready to turn 27 years old in the next few days so he’ll be 29 years old by the time his next contract would be signed.
That’s seven seasons in the NFL and a lot of wear and tear on the body of a running back. While some may consider the next contract of Chubb as an option and not a guaranteed thing, I’d recommend strongly at this stage of the game that the Browns should give him that next contract without question. A running back of Chubb’s caliber doesn’t come around often.
Realistically, Chubb probably needs another four or five years in Cleveland to reach Brown’s numbers. That would make Chubb around 31 or 32 years old by the time he caught the mark so that might be more difficult to reach because of that age and his durability as a back. If you consider too that Brown himself was 29 years old when he retired from the game then one can see what a challenge it could be for Chubb.