The Cleveland Browns spent the better part of a decade rebuilding in an extreme and thorough fashion. Now they're contenders, but they've also reached the point at which they're having to pay up to keep the band together.
Star edge defender Myles Garrett has already been paid, and they'll almost inevitably follow suit with quarterback Baker Mayfield in the next year or two. And now there's chatter surrounding the expiring rookie contract that belongs to running back Nick Chubb.
"It would mean a lot," Chubb said last week of a potential new deal. "Cleveland drafted me and trusted me and put their faith in me to help build this culture and this team I'm a part of. Cleveland is where I want to be. Hopefully everything can work out in that direction."
Chubb was a second-round pick in 2018, which means there's no fifth-year option on the table. If he isn't re-signed or hit with the franchise tag, he'll become an unrestricted free agent at the age of 26 next March.
What should Chubb expect? What does he deserve? It's complicated because he's a running back and it's become increasingly difficult for teams to justify paying players at that position. There's plenty of evidence that teams can experience considerable success without great backs, while many have failed to contend despite paying top dollar for accomplished backs.