Browns running back Nick Chubb is out for the season after suffering a significant knee injury on “Monday Night Football.” Here are the top five options Cleveland could turn to be its next RB1.
1. Browns RB Jerome Ford
Ford, Cleveland’s fifth-round pick from 2022, filled in nicely after Chubb went down in Week 2. The 24-year-old had 106 yards on 16 rushes, averaging an impressive 6.6 yards per carry. He also added three catches for 25 yards and a touchdown. Ford won the backup job this offseason, and it seems likely he’ll get the first chance to be Cleveland’s RB1 for the rest of the season.
2. Free-agent RB Kareem Hunt
The best remaining free-agent running back is Hunt, certainly a familiar face to the Browns. Hunt spent the past four seasons in Cleveland as Chubb’s backup and could become the starter if the team is interested in a reunion. Cleveland did part ways with the 28-year-old this offseason with the belief his speed was slipping, but he would come at a cheap price.
3. Colts RB Jonathan Taylor
Taylor is by far the best running back who is “available” as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said he expects trades talks to resume for the All-Pro. It will likely take high compensation to acquire the former second-round pick. General manager Andrew Berry has had a couple of aggressive offseasons, so it wouldn’t be a total surprise if this was his next big move.
4. Rams RB Cam Akers
Los Angeles has reportedly had trade talks centered on Akers since he was a healthy scratch in Week 2. A trade for Akers would make sense since he would cost a lot less than Taylor but still bring some upside as a second-round pick in 2020. Akers’ NFL career has had a bit of a bumpy start, but he could turn things around with the Browns, who have one of the best offensive lines in the league.
5. Free-agent RB Leonard Fournette
Fournette would be the next best veteran on the open market. The 28-year-old had a bit of a down year in 2022, when he rushed for just 668 yards and a career-low three touchdowns with the Buccaneers, but he could still have some good football left in him. If Cleveland were to bring him in, it would likely use a running back-by-committee approach as the team eases Fournette back into action.