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Browns rework contract to keep star RB Nick Chubb in Cleveland for 2024 season

Nick Chubb's uncertain future has prompted the Cleveland Browns to negotiate an adjusted contract with the star running back.

Chubb and the Browns have agreed to a reworked deal to lower his base salary of $11.75 million with the chance to earn it back via incentives, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Thursday, per sources.

Chubb suffered a significant knee injury in Week 2 of the 2023 season, ending his campaign immediately and throwing his NFL future into doubt. It wasn't Chubb's first encounter with a serious knee injury, but at 28 years old and with a relatively lengthy injury history considered, many have wondered whether Chubb will be able to return with the same abilities that have seen him vault into the upper echelon of ball carriers during his pro career.

Chubb has racked up 6,511 yards and 48 rushing touchdowns over six seasons, playing in 12 or more games in every year except for his last. Without Chubb, Cleveland was forced to piece together an adequate backfield in 2023, relying on second-year back Jerome Ford, a return of veteran Kareem Hunt, and a sprinkling of speed back Pierre Strong, falling out of the top 10 for rushing yards in the NFL for the first time since the 2019 season.

The Browns have offered limited, vague updates on Chubb's progress as he attempts to return from the injury, which required two separate procedures to properly repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament. Some have wondered whether the injury and Chubb's high cap number -- $15.825 million in 2024 -- might prompt Cleveland to release the local hero in order to save money on what could end up being a bad investment. Instead, the Browns are protecting themselves financially by offering Chubb the chance to earn some of his salary back with his performance.

First, though, Chubb must complete his recovery and return to the field. After being caught almost empty handed last season, the Browns have prepared accordingly, stocking up on running backs this offseason with the additions of Nyheim Hines and D'Onta Foreman to a room that already includes Chubb, Ford, Strong and John Kelly, bringing their total to six running backs ahead of this month's draft.

Chubb can complete an excellent comeback story worthy of year-end award consideration if he returns to form in 2024. Judging by Wednesday's news, though, the Browns aren't entirely convinced at this point he'll do so.

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