Could Browns cut playmaking free agent before he ever takes a snap?

If Nick Chubb returns earlier than expected, the Cleveland Browns will have some tough decisions to make at running back.
Cleveland Browns, D'Onta Foreman
Cleveland Browns, D'Onta Foreman / Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

With Nick Chubb battling back from a torn ACL and MCL, the Cleveland Browns signed D'Onta Foreman as an insurance policy. Foreman is a six-year veteran with 2,326 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground and another 342 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver.

Often used in a committee, he impressed in 2022 when the Carolina Panthers started him following their decision to trade Christian McCaffrey. That year, he had 914 yards and five touchdowns with an average of 4.5 yards per attempt.

His average was down to 3.9 with the Chicago Bears in 2023 but he still had 425 yards in nine games. That gives the Browns confidence they can lean on him but according to Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal, Foreman isn't guaranteed to make the team.

Easterling says his status is dependent on Chubb's return. If he does come back early in the year, Easterling believes Foreman will have to battle Pierre Strong, Jr. for the fourth and final spot — and Strong might have the edge.

"Foreman, signed as a free agent, has had moments since coming into the league in 2017, including a 900-yard rushing season with the Carolina Panthers in 2022. Strong, who was acquired last August in a trade with the New England Patriots, was one of the Browns' best special teams performers last season. That, along with being the younger player, might be the deciding factor."

Browns should have D'Onta Foreman miles ahead of Jerome Ford

What doesn't make sense in this take is that Jerome Ford seems to get a pass. Sure, he had more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 2023 but he struggled mightily throughout the season. We can complain all we want about Foreman netting 3.9 yards per attempt with the Bears but he was at least consistent.

Ford, on the other hand, had 32.7 percent of his production come on eight carries. On the remaining 196 attempts, he averaged 2.8 yards per attempt. He was also stuffed for a loss 34 times, losing 91 yards in the process.

Down the stretch, the Browns run game fell off a cliff, so having the back who was responsible for those struggles as a lock to make the team seems counterproductive. Hopefully, the front office is looking at this battle with an open mind and not locking Ford in.

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