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Browns’ Chris Hubbard agrees to pay cut after Jack Conklin signing

Chris Hubbard, Jack Conklin, Browns

Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Chris Hubbard has agreed to take a pay cut after the Browns signed former Tennessee Titans standout Jack Conklin to replace him at right tackle.

ESPN reported Hubbard will make a base salary of $2.5 million in 2020 for the Browns, and though he can still reach up to $5 million in incentives, this is a fairly steep cut which gives the Cleveland organization appreciable cost savings in its attempt to craft a balanced roster for the coming NFL season:

Hubbard was previously scheduled to make $6.47 million in salary and bonuses in 2020, $7 million in 2021 and $7.5 million in 2022. He can reach $5 million next season with incentives and void the second year of the deal if he plays 90 percent of the snaps.

Hubbard signed a five-year, $36.5 million contract with the Browns in 2018 after spending four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 28-year-old started 29 of 30 games over two seasons with Cleveland, but the team’s decision to add Conklin will change Hubbard’s role dramatically.

Although there was some speculation the Browns might cut Hubbard, he still has the chance to see snaps at either tackle spot, with the added possibility of competing for a starting spot at guard.

The man supplanting Hubbard on the Browns was one of the most attractive offensive tackles on the market. Conklin made First Team All-Pro in his rookie year, and he has since had sustained success. He also had a grade over 80 per Pro Football Focus, which is far superior to Hubbard’s grade in the 50s.

Still, it is not surprising the Browns wanted to retain Hubbard. Aside from providing more depth on the line, the Browns saved themselves dead cap money they otherwise would have conceded by releasing Hubbard.

The Cleveland Browns will bank on Hubbard making improvements and being somewhat of a flex option for a unit that ranked 23rd in football last year, per PFF.