AP Source: Browns restructure RB Nick Chubb’s contract

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) carries the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cleveland, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. (Ron Schwane/AP Photo)

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have restructured star running back Nick Chubb’s contract as he continues to rehab after a season-ending knee injury in 2023, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Chubb was entering his final year under contract after signing a three-year, $36.6 million deal in 2021.

The 28-year-old Chubb agreed to take a salary cut — he was scheduled to make $11.75 million this season — but can earn back money through incentives, the person said.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team does not make salary figures public.

NFL Network was first to report Chubb’s agreement with the Browns.

Chubb, the Browns’ most popular player and a four-time Pro Bowler who rushed for 1,525 yards in 2022, tore ligaments in his left knee in Week 2 when he was hit from the side by Pittsburgh safety Minkah Fitzpatrick near the goal line.

Chubb had to undergo two surgeries to get it repaired. It’s the same knee he injured while at Georgia. The Browns dedicated their season to Chubb and went on to make the playoffs for just the second time since 2002.

Because it’s Chubb, who has an extraordinary work ethic and commitment, the Browns believe he could be back at some point this season. The team has not provided any specific timeline for his return.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry recently said Chubb had been rehabbing at the team’s headquarters and was close to ramping up his workouts.

“Right now he’s strengthening his quad, he’s doing the rehab and everything, but it’s not like he’s going out and doing sprints, agility drills, stuff like that,” Berry said at the owner’s meetings. “But this month we expect that he will.”

Chubb has been essentially the backbone of the Browns since they drafted him in the second round in 2018.

He’s rushed for 6,511 yards and 48 touchdowns, and whenever the team is driving and needs yardage, Browns fans break into chants of “Chubb … Chubb” at home games.

To protect their depth, the Browns signed running backs Nyheim Hines and D’Onta Foreman during free agency. They’ve also got backs Jerome Ford, Pierre Strong Jr. and John Kelly Jr. under contract.

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