The Cleveland Browns hit the bye week at an opportune time despite how early it lands on the schedule this year. The team is limping into the free week banged up at key positions.
Deshaun Watson missed the Week 4 contest against the Ravens with a shoulder injury. Center Ethan Pocic has a chest and leg injury. Myles Garrett is day-to-day with a foot injury.
The injury that will last the entire 2023 season and then some is that of Nick Chubb, who went down in Week 2 with a gruesome-looking knee injury. Jerome Ford stepped in admirably in the game against the Steelers when Chubb was injured, but it has been tough sledding since then.
To be fair to Ford, he did have a rushing and receiving touchdown in Week 3 versus Tennessee, but couldn't get much going on the ground against a stout Titans defense. The next week was more of the same when the Ravens came to town, only without the touchdowns.
The Browns brought back Kareem Hunt to help replace Chubb, after moving on from him in the offseason. The move makes sense as Hunt already knows the offense, but the biggest question is whether or not he can get back to form.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com suggested that Cleveland should consider trading for Colts running back, Jonathan Taylor.
Taylor and the Colts had a falling out over the summer as Indianapolis did not want to give the former rushing champion an extension. The talented running back still wants out of Indy, but he did return to practice as a full participant on Wednesday, after spending the first four weeks on the PUP list with an ankle injury.
This would be a high-risk, high-reward move for the Browns to make, but it could be one to keep them exactly where they envision going.
Should the Browns actually consider trading for Jonathan Taylor?
Regardless of what Browns' Twitter will try and tell you, it's not time to hit the panic button yet.
The team currently sits at 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the AFC North. There are 10 teams with more wins than the Browns and 12 with the same record. This season is far from over, but there are moves to be made.
At first, I wasn't really on board with this proposed trade from Cabot, but then I kept thinking about it and I'm leaning towards being fully in on it.
Chubb will miss the rest of this season and at least part of next year. Even if he were to return, he wouldn't be the same back we have all loved watching for the past five years for at least a few weeks.
A trade for Taylor will have a hefty price tag, but if this team is fully committed to winning this season — which we all know is true after the blockbuster trade for Watson last offseason — then a trade for Taylor makes all the sense in the world, regardless of price.
Cleveland has a ton of cap space and could offer Taylor an extension, which could be a wise investment depending on how Chubb recovers. Yes, we all want Chubb to retire with the Browns, but at the end of the day, this is a business.
Let's just say Chubb, who has no guaranteed money on his contract next season, comes back and is 85% of his former self. If Taylor is here too, that would be a lethal one-two punch at the running back position.
There's obviously no replacing Chubb, but Taylor could be the next-best option for this team. Watson will alleviate some of the pressure from the running back position, but adding Taylor will be beneficial to his quarterback as well.
In his first three NFL seasons, Taylor has rushed for 3,841 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry, with 33 touchdowns. He's also caught 104 passes for 802 yards, and three touchdowns. He won the rushing title back in 2021, finishing ahead of, none other than Chubb.
Coming into this season, the Browns front office elected to neglect the running back position, having Chubb and feeling confident in second-year back Jerome Ford. They acquired Pierre Strong Jr. from the Patriots to add a speed element to the room.
Chubb being lost for the season really exposed those who worked behind him. Yes, the Titans and Ravens have great run defenses, but if the Browns can't establish the run, then it could spell trouble as the season goes on.
Taylor solves that issue and is the closest thing to replacing Chubb. I am all in on the Browns pulling this trade off and then we will see what happens from there.