The Cleveland Browns are in the market for a running back after Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending injury on Monday and Jonathan Taylor will likely be a name the team checks in on.
Taylor is currently on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and has been in a very public beef with his current team — the Indianapolis Colts — over a new contract. The Colts shopped Taylor prior to the season but did not feel like they got a fair value offer for the All-Pro, former rushing leader.
With the Browns now in a jam with Chubb out for the year, they could end up making an offer the Colts can’t refuse.
“Chris Ballard’s phone might ring tonight. Browns have gone all in on their season,” former Browns general manager turned podcast host Michael Lombardi tweeted. “If they lose Chubb they might pay handsomely for Taylor.”
NFL Network listed four running backs that made sense for the Browns to pursue. It included Taylor and Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers, as well as free agents Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette.
Browns Urged to Make Deal for Jonathan Taylor
NFL Network’s Steve Wyche agreed with Lombardi’s sentiment that Taylor might make the most sense.
“The Jonathan Taylor thing is interesting to me,” Wyche said on NFL Network following the game. “People are going to say ‘he wants a new contract.’ This or that. Yeah, he’s going to want a new contract, but would he rather sit on ice and be miserable in Indianapolis, or get an opportunity to go to Cleveland and earn a new contract? He would get the reps there. They have got a very, very good football team.”
It’s clear the Browns need to add some veteran depth with Chubb — the engine of their offense — out. Second-year back Jerome Ford is currently the top back on the depth chart, and while the Browns like what he brings to the table, he’s not ready for a feature-back role. Ford had 106 yards against the Steelers but 69 of that came on one play.
Taylor would have no problem being a feature back, especially considering that he’s looking for a new contract.
“Jonathan Taylor’s style would fit. He can run it, he can catch it,” Wyche said. “There’s a pretty good offensive line there in Cleveland. Jonathan Taylor, do you want to play football if the opportunity is there? Cleveland, do you want someone as good as him? Make a deal.”
Browns Reeling Over Loss of Nick Chubb
Chubb’s production will be missed but it was clear after the game that his presence on the field and in the locker room will be missed even more.
“The season’s going to be for him,” Browns cornerback Greg Newsome said. “Everything we do, every practice, we’re going to think about him. Every game we’re going to play for him, so I mean, this season’s going to be dedicated to Nick Chubb.”
Chubb rushed for more than 1,500 yards a year ago and 12 touchdowns. He has four Pro Bowl nods to his name and has been one of the most consistent players in the NFL. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski pointed out that even if they bring another player in, Chubb is someone who they can’t simply swap another player in for.
“You don’t replace Nick Chubb,” Stefanski said on Tuesday, September 19. “You just don’t do that with great players in this league. It’s not just one person who can replace a player of his caliber. Everybody has to do a little more everywhere, but we’ll look at options there as far as who we’ll bring in.”
The Browns have a short week to collect themselves and prepare for the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
J.R. DeGroote covers the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles Lakers for Heavy.com. He covered local and statewide sports as a reporter for West Hawaii Today and has decades of experience in digital media with previous stops at SB Nation and Bleacher Report. He has won multiple state, regional, and national honors for sports reporting and photography. More about J.R. DeGroote
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The Cleveland Browns’ Quest for a New Running Back: Could Jonathan Taylor Be the Answer?
After the injury of their star running back Nick Chubb, the Cleveland Browns find themselves in need of a replacement. One name that is likely to be on their radar is Jonathan Taylor. Currently on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and engaged in a public dispute with the Indianapolis Colts over his contract, Taylor could be a valuable addition to the Browns’ roster. The Colts had considered trading Taylor before the season began but were unsatisfied with the offers they received. With the Browns now desperate for a solution, they might be willing to make a substantial offer for the All-Pro former rushing leader.
This sentiment is echoed by NFL Network’s Steve Wyche, who believes that Taylor would be an ideal fit for the Browns. Despite his desire for a new contract, Wyche argues that Taylor would prefer a change of scenery over remaining in Indianapolis. He sees the Browns as a team with a strong chance of success and believes that Taylor would thrive in their offense.
The loss of Chubb is undoubtedly a blow to the Browns, as he was not only a prolific rusher but also a locker room leader. However, Head Coach Kevin Stefanski acknowledges that Chubb cannot be replaced easily. While the Browns currently have second-year back Jerome Ford as their starting running back, he is not yet ready for a feature-back role. Therefore, the addition of Taylor, who is accustomed to being a feature back, would be a significant