Cleveland Browns: Worst case scenario in signing Kareem Hunt

Cleveland Browns Kareem Hunt (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Kareem Hunt (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns are hoping that overtime, the signing of Kareem Hunt will look good. But if it doesn’t? Here’s the worst-case scenario.

Make no mistake about it. Cleveland Browns general manager is playing the long game when it comes to his shocking signing of Kareem Hunt.

It just has to be the case.

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Hunt will at least miss the first six weeks of the season. That’s the starting point for NFL suspension and domestic violence. I expect Hunt to be suspended for 10 games.

It’s unclear when the NFL will finally deliver its verdict on Hunt, but Dorsey said a decision is expected in the next couple weeks.

With Hunt expected to miss such a big chunk of time, his presence probably looms larger for the 2020 season, rather than 2019. That’s not to say he can’t help Cleveland down the stretch, rather, in 2020, he’ll be running back the NFL has come to know over the past two years.

Hunt just needs to play in four games this season to become a restricted free agent next offseason, and that will make it easy for the Browns to place a tender on him. Basically, the organization has no chance of losing him should they desire to keep him around after the 2019 season.

From a pure football standpoint, this is a pretty low-risk move.

But it’s not just a football move. It’s as polarizing topic as the Browns have ever known.

Hardly scientific, but an ESPN Cleveland poll recently found that a good chunk of fans are OK with the Browns signing Hunt. Another poll found, conducted by The Action Network’s Darren Rovell, which received 25,000 responses was mixed.

If Hunt stays out of trouble, continues to receive treatment and makes amends, the world will welcome his comeback story.

If he can’t, well, the Browns are going to look bad, and that’s an understatement.

Remember when Seth Wickersham dropped that bombshell article on the Browns last month? The ESPN story wondered whether Baker Mayfield could thrive under the Haslam ownership.

Cleveland doesn’t sign Hunt without ownership’s blessing, which coincides right smack-in-the-middle of Mayfield’s formative, rookie-contract years.

What’s the worst case scenario here? ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Gross laid out a doomsday scenario for Hunt in an orange helmet, via (subscription).

"“He wins team trust, everything is going good. you invest in him both emotionally, and further financially, and you give him a long-term contract at some point, and then there’s a recurrence or something implodes and you’re left with a mess.”"

Grossi didn’t even touch on collateral damage a recurrence could have on the team.

With the Browns expected to continue trending upward, the last thing a young team needs is to be asked questions as to why things didn’t work out with a player who was a questionable signing to begin with.

With Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson in the fold, the signing still seems strange. Yes, Hunt is an elite talent, but why take the backlash now and set yourself up for a potential mega-disaster down the road?

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It makes you think Dorsey is personally invested in rehabilitating the player he took a chance on back in 2016 when he was general manager of the Chiefs.