Browns going after Brandon Aiyuk could spell the end for Nick Chubb, Wyatt Teller

A trade for Brandon Aiyuk could lead to tough decisions for Andrew Berry with current players such as Nick Chubb and Wyatt Teller

Brandon Aiyuk
Brandon Aiyuk / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

We have yet to see any major deals done yet, but with free agency less than a month away, things are about to get wild in the NFL. After years of seeing nothing get accomplished during the offseason, the Cleveland Browns will once again be in the thick of things as they look to make the jump to a serious Super Bowl contender.

Following the magical run in 2023 that ended in a disappointing playoff loss where the Browns were dismantled by the Houston Texans, we’ve already seen Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski get aggressive by firing a vast majority of the offensive staff.

So, assuming that we finally see Deshaun Watson healthy in 2024 (and hopefully back to his old self), what’s the big missing piece? The weakness of this team appears to still be at wide receiver. This is no knock to Amari Cooper who had a fantastic season in 2023, but the group behind him has continued to struggle to put up consistent production.

Elijah Moore had an okay season with 640 receiving yards and two touchdowns, but I think it’s more than safe to say he didn’t meet expectations. In this league, a true No. 2 wide receiver in an offense like the Browns should be closer to 900 or 1,000 yards for the season with at least another couple of touchdowns. 

The rumblings for the last season have been that the San Francisco 49ers may not be able to afford the fifth-year option for Brandon Aiyuk, and it’s felt like the Browns may always be a great landing spot. Aiyuk has been underutilized in the offense with Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffery, plus the 49ers are already tight for cash.

You may think, why would the 49ers opt in for the fifth-year option if they can’t keep him? Unlike the Baker Mayfield situation where the Browns ended up eating most of his salary cap anyway, the 49ers will still come out ahead. They have a talented roster with a few massive contracts, so they’d be more interested in draft picks than veteran players anyway. 

The Cleveland Browns aren’t exactly loaded up with picks, but after this year, they do at least get their first-round picks back. Not only that, but Aiyuk feels like the perfect fit for the Browns. He’s an elite route runner, has tremendous speed for separation, and has extremely strong hands. 

Browns could lose Nick Chubb, Wyatt Teller if they trade for Brandon Aiyuk

So, what’s the bad news with all of this? As Jack Duffin of the OBR points out, a move such as this would likely cost the Browns Nick Chubb and/or Wyatt Teller. To pull off a trade for Aiyuk, both sides will have to agree on an extension that will be costly but get the Browns an elite wide receiver in return.

With Chubb coming off a serious injury and in the final year of his contract with no guarantees, I still don’t see how he could make this roster without a pay cut. Teller still has time left on his deal, but his cap hit and lack of pass protection make him a liability moving forward and he still could have some potential trade value. 

This is a move I may not have expected Berry to make even one year ago, but with the pressure on to win now after what they gave up for Watson, and Aiyuk trade feels like a real possibility. 

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