Browns: No trade alert, but Nick Chubb should be limited in 2023
The Cleveland Browns are entering upon a new era, and that should mean less of Nick Chubb until he needs to ice the game.
When the 2023 season gets underway, the Cleveland Browns will have a similar look on offense, but will be run a bit differently. The days of Nick Chubb getting 300-plus carries in a season could and should be a thing of the past.
Naturally, the debate of whether or not Chubb could or should be traded ensued in full force Monday on the app with feathers (Twitter), which is always a good time. However, it came about this time as there are reports of the Tennessee Titans potentially putting Derrick Henry on the trading block.
Now, before you flood my mentions (@KingEdward15), Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com said the team has "no plans" to trade the four-time, Pro Bowler.
Let's forget about a hypothetical trade for the time being and focus on what we should see on the field from the Browns and this offense this upcoming season. Deshaun Watson will have a full offseason and season to bounce back from his six games played at a below-average level after a 700 day layoff.
According to Matthew Berry of NBC Sports, he heard that the Browns could deploy Watson to throw around 40 times per game and Chubb should see roughly 12 carries per game. If Watson returns to his 2020 form, then this is the best option for the Browns to compete for a playoff berth.
This is a great plan for the Browns as it will help preserve Chubb and keep him fresh for game-icing scenarios in the fourth quarter and more importantly, should the team qualify, for a playoff run. The overall goal is obviously winning the Super Bowl, but Cleveland needs to get back to the postseason dance for that to even be a realistic possibility.
Should head coach Kevin Stefanski and his staff decide to give Chubb 12 carries per game, that would put him at 204 carries for the season. If you tack on his career five-yards per carry, that would give him 1,020 yards for the year. That's a pretty good balance if Watson can get it done through the air.
Last year, in the six games that Watson played, Chubb reached the 100-yard plateau just once and didn't score a rushing touchdown. This was largely due to the Browns completely revamping their offense so that Watson could get better acclimated.
The NFL isn't won on the backs of the elite running backs anymore as it is far more a pass-happy league and when the Browns traded for Watson last year, that was the direction this regime was planning on.
As for Watson, Cabot also said that he would be willing to restructure his contract so the team could add veteran players in free agency or via trade. This goes along with Andrew Berry saying this could be an option last week at the NFL Combine.
This was almost always going to be the route the Browns took when they signed Watson to the highest guaranteed deal in NFL history. The salary cap is a myth, per se, no cap.
Back to Chubb. Outside of him, questions still remain for the Browns run game in 2023. Kareem Hunt has likely played his last game wearing orange and brown, and D'Ernest Johnson could also leave in free agency, should another team be interested. This leaves Chubb and second-year player Jerome Ford.
The Browns more than likely will not be trading Chubb this offseason, but he could and should be limited once the regular season kicks off. That doesn't mean he can't be the player we all love, but it will be at a less frequent pace, which is good for him and the team.