The Cleveland Browns have agreed to terms with running back Carlos Hyde, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. It is a three-year deal worth $15 million over the entire life of the contract.
The 27-year-old running back rushed for 938 yards and eight touchdowns on 240 carries with the 49ers after starting all 16 games in 2017. Last year was the first year of his four-year career that he did not average four yards per carry, as he averaged 3.9 yards per carry.
Over his entire four-year career, he has never rushed for 1,000 yards. But in 2016, Hyde finished with 988 yards in 13 games.
Hyde also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Over the past two years, Hyde has caught 121 passes for 513 yards and three touchdowns.
Hyde possesses the power to get to the second-level running through the tackles. He does not have lightning-quick speed, but has enough speed to break away from defenders.
In 2017, Cleveland could rarely get the run game going. Hue Jackson has stated multiple times over the past two years that he wants to be a power-running football team. But Jackson would never commit to the run, causing the running backs to never get in a rhythm. That is why Isaiah Crowell was almost a guarantee to leave the team this offseason.
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Hyde can be an every down back for the Browns, but it’s likely that he will be the early down back for Cleveland. Duke Johnson is still the best pass catching running back for Cleveland. It would be expected he would still be Cleveland’s third-down running back.
The signing of Hyde also clears up what the Browns might be doing in the NFL Draft. With Hyde in the fold and Johnson talking to Cleveland about a contract extension, it is highly unlikely the Browns take a running back early in the draft. That would mean Saquon Barkley would not be an option for Cleveland at first and fourth overall.
If Jackson has found a running back that he can trust, perhaps the Browns commit to a run game more often in 2018. Todd Haley has done great work with getting the best out of his running backs, and Hyde has yet to fully reach his potential. Perhaps Hyde will excel under Haley in 2018.