Around the AFC North: Nick Chubb Signs Hefty Three-Year Contract Extension

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RB Nick Chubb

Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb Inks New Deal

The AFC North is loaded with talented running backs, but Nick Chubb is the only one who's coming off two straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Chubb officially signed a three-year contract extension Monday for a reported $36.6 million, keeping him under contract through 2024.

The Browns were understandably happy that one of the NFL's top running backs will remain in Cleveland long term.

"He's a dynamic runner who is on pace to be one of the most accomplished players to ever don an orange helmet at the position," General Manager Andrew Berry said in a statement. "Quite plainly, Nick embodies the soul of our team and we are thrilled that he will be a Cleveland Brown for years to come."

Chubb is effective running inside, he breaks tackles, and he also has the speed to break long runs.

The AFC North is loaded with capable running backs – J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards with the Ravens, Joe Mixon with the Cincinnati Bengals, and rookie first-round pick Najee Harris with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But with Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Browns will once again have one of the NFL's most dangerous running attacks.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Second-Round Tight End Starts Training Camp Strong

While Harris has been Pittsburgh's most talked about rookie, second-round tight end Pat Freiermuth of Penn State looks like he'll be a valuable new target for Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers are talking about using Eric Ebron and Freiermuth in two tight-end sets and believe they can be a lethal combination.

"Can they be dynamic? With this quarterback, they have the ability to be, yes," Steelers Tight End Coach Alfredo Roberts said, via Chris Adamski of TribLive.

For Ebron and Freiermuth, it won't be all about catching the football. Pittsburgh's running attack was disappointing last season, and Freiermuth said he won't neglect that part of his game. At 6-foot-5, 258 pounds, he certainly has enough size to be an effective blocker.

"I was drafted because I can do both," Freiermuth said. "I know that my job is to go out there and make catches, but it's also to go out and block."

Cincinnati Bengals: Trae Waynes Could Upgrade Cincinnati's Corner Play

A torn pectoral muscle cost Bengals cornerback Trae Waynes the 2020 season, but he has been a standout in Cincinnati's training camp so far. There have been intense practice battles and covering Cincinnati's talented wide receiver trio of No. 5-[add]overall pick Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd benefits the Bengals' secondary. 

"Trae Waynes and Tee had one in the corner of the end zone and it great throw, great shot at a catch and Trae just got his hands between the ball and the receiver's hands and knocked it out," Head Coach Zac Taylor said, via Geoff Hobson the team's website. "There's been some really good competition between the DBs and the receivers."

The Bengals felt they surrendered too many big plays last season, but they believe the secondary will be much improved in 2021 after a training camp and preseason of competition among cornerbacks Waynes, Chidobe Awuzie, Mike Hilton and Ricardo Allen.

"You can tell their sense of urgency over what they're doing," Defensive Coordinator Lou Anarumo said. "These three preseason games for guys are going to be huge. We want to see those guys really fighting for their playing time."

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