Every since the Browns decided to a flyer on Ahtyba Rubin and selected him in the 6th round way back in 2008, he has been a valuable member of the Browns defense and has started at least 11 games a year since 2010. While Rubin has been a valuable player for the Browns, he struggled pretty badly last season and with him surely going to be looking for at least $5 million a year, you’d have to wonder whether it is still worthwhile keeping Ahtyba Rubin around next season?
Rubin sacks Tom Brady in a game against the Patriots in 2013, one of only three he has had in the last two seasons
Rubin is coming to the end of a four year/ $26.5 million contract which paid him $6.6 million last year and is due to become an unrestricted free agent on March 10. Rubin is 28 and probably wont be willing to accept any less for $5 million a year with him realizing this could be his last real payday but with how he played last year and with how he fits with the Browns scheme I really feel that he wouldn’t be worth that much to the Browns despite all the cap space they have at their disposal. It is three front offices(unfortunately) since Rubin drafted and this current on e would hold no loyalty for him in the way the front office that drafted him would. Rubin was schedule to start at DE this season but end up spending quite a lot of his season playing NT because Phil Taylor played only 5 games and to be completely honest he never really looked comfortable playing there.
Rubin is more of a 4-3 DT and this showed last year with him being a liability in the run game being a major reason why the Browns finished dead last in the run defense giving up 141.6 yards a game on the ground. In the 3-4 the nose tackle is arguably the most important position when it comes to stop the run as he has the responsibility of both A gaps i.e. lining up directly opposite the center and taking up the either side of him which are the main lanes for any rushing plays. Rubin didn’t seem to be able to consistently to be able to take up blocks and help stop the run. this proved to be a major problem for the Browns especially when their top linebacker Karlos Dansby went to injury.
Another problem with bringing Rubin back would be that he could damage the development of talented young players such as Armonty Bryant, Billy Winn and John Hughes all of whom are under contract next year for a combined $2.1 million. At this stage of his career I feel we have seen the best that Rubin has to offer and it certainly is starter material in the right scheme and he really was a steal considering his draft position but not as valuable to the Browns as he used to be. With one defensive end slot for next year all but guaranteed for Desmond Bryant I think a committee approach between the three players or between Winn and Hughes with Bryant playing OLB would be more beneficial for the Browns. With Hughes’ and Winn’s contracts expiring at the end of next season giving them more playing time would almost certainly help in trying to resign them if that is what the Browns want.
Rubin may be moving from the Browns this off-season
Another that could work against Rubin is that there is some rumors that the Browns are looking into moving Phil Taylor from nose tackle to defensive end and trying to find a new nose tackle in free agency or the draft. Moving Taylor to a more natural defensive end position would make an already crowded position even more crowded and Rubin more expendable. The Browns are expected to try and make a run at Lions DT Ndamukong Suh in free agency and with him expected to be asking for at least $16 million a year all the contracts the Browns could get off the books that better.
That’s not to say there is no chance that there isn’t any chance of Rubin being back next year with the Browns having plenty of room under the salary cap with around $47.8 million available. Rubin certainly wouldn’t be bad as a backup for the Browns either as he can contribute and he has always worked hard throughout his career with Browns and would help to be an example of the “play like a Brown” motto that Mike Pettine was so fond of using this season.
Although I have liked Rubin in the time he has been with the Browns and I wouldn’t mad if he came back I think his time with the Browns has come to the end of run. I think based on his performance last year, the abundance of young talent at the position and age I don’t see the Browns bringing back Rubin for another year.