Nick Chubb's gruesome injury — and its aftermath — shows why NFL RBs deserve hazard pay


There was little offense early during the Cleveland BrownsPittsburgh Steelers Week 2 Monday Night football matchup. Both teams were playing hot potato and re-playing the first quarter after the replay review.

However, there was one offensive player who was dependable from the opening whistle, Nick Chubb.

One the best runningbacks in the NFL had run 106 yards in the Browns’ win against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, and was ready for more in Week 2 Chubb was a key player for the Browns, accumulating 59 yard on nine carries in Week 1 against the Steelers

. On his 10th carry, he ran for what will likely be the final five yards of his 2023 season.Minkah Fitzpatrick drilled Chubb directly in the knee, hurting himself in the process. Chubb appeared to be fine for a brief moment. When one of Chubb’s teammates tried to lift him off the ground, it looked like he had been merely dinged

. But Chubb pulled his hand away and unbuckled his chinstrap, then rolled over in pain. Joe Buck announced that the replay would not be shown. A collective groan of 68,000+ confirmed that Chubb was in serious pain. One bad hit and now the 2023 season is likely over for one of the most durable running backs in the NFL, after only 170 yards and just over five quarters.Chubb signed a three-year contract extension with the Browns in 2021. He was the league’s leading running back in yards per carry, with an average of 5.23. This was among those who had carried the ball 150 or more times. This extension made him the fifth highest paid runningback in the league, at about $12 million per annum. Second-year, 5th-round draft choice Jerome Ford rushed for 106 yard on 6.6 yards a carry. Ford made an immediate impact in the game. His base salary for 2023 is $870,000. Ford’s base salary for 2023 — $870,000.

Long-term deals for running backs may be a non-starter, but the NFLPA has to figure out a way for these players to receive some kind of hazard pay to compensate them for the pounding they take. The process begins in their hometowns, when they are the top player of a team. They carry the rock throughout the game. They are ridden by coaches in college as well. They sign a slotted deal, and if they are great,

the team gets to reward them with an option to franchise tag running backs

until their prime is likely complete. They sign a slotted deal, and if they are great, the team gets the reward of the option to franchise tag running backs until their prime is likely complete.

Chubb is 27, and when his contract expires in 2024 he will be 30. After suffering a major knee injury — a second one in the same knee, the first happened in college — it is hard to see the Browns offering him a multi-year one, especially since they are on the hook for every dollar of Deshaun Watson’s deal.

Now the Browns will begin to use up a talented fifth-round draft pick. Ford will be given the ball if he continues to produce. He will only make $1 million per season in 2026. They can also hit him with the double franchise tag, which would bring him up to 29. Running back is the most dangerous position in the NFL. Not only are their careers the shortest, but as a position group, they

make less than any other player in which collisions are part of their job description.In other dangerous lines of work in this country people are compensated extra for the physical punishment they suffer on the clock. The running backs deserve some compensation for the lower contract dollar amounts and shorter contracts they receive compared to their peers. They are used to test crash-testing dummies. One of them breaks, and then another one, usually newer, is sent right back into the car for another crash.This is worth

some hazard pay.