The Cleveland Browns have been super active throughout free agency so far. After trading for Jarvis Landry and Tyrod Taylor, the Browns made a sneakier signing that might be wrongfully overlooked. Former Pittsburgh Steeler, Chris Hubbard, signed to a $37.5 million deal over five years.
So just who is Chris Hubbard?
He’s definitely not a familiar face to most Browns fans, but he is going to serve as a very important piece in the trenches for the brown and orange. An undrafted free agent out of the University of Alabama Birmingham, Hubbard spent his 2013-2015 seasons as a backup lineman. In 2016, he would start four games for the Steelers. Last year, he would go on to start 10 games, mostly in place of right tackle Marcus Gilbert who missed time because of injury and a suspension.
Hubbard was able to prove that he was not just a replacement-level player, either; he gave up only four sacks and tallied only three penalties during his starting tenure. This was impressive enough to get the attention of Hue Jackson and John Dorsey, earning Hubbard a lucrative payday.
Originally, it was uncertain if the signing of Chris Hubbard was just to add depth to the roster. However, with Joe Thomas retiring, it has been decided that Hubbard will start at right tackle. It is believed that Shon Coleman is penciled in as the replacement for Thomas at left tackle.
Furthermore, Hubbard can be used as an emergency center. That’s good to know because of Cleveland’s inconsistency at the center position since Alex Mack’s departure in 2016. Hubbard has spent his entire NFL career with new Browns offensive coordinator and play-caller Todd Haley. It will be interesting to watch how Haley will use Hubbard to protect Tyrod Taylor and Carlos Hyde as the season progresses.
While nobody is expecting him to fill the shoes of Joe Thomas, it will definitely be beneficial for the Browns to have the versatility of Chris Hubbard on the offensive line as this rebuild continues in Cleveland.
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Photo: Associated Press