The Cleveland Browns have a problem after Kareem Hunt requested a trade.
Things were pretty quiet for a while after the new regime took over. When Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski came in during the 2020 offseason stability was thought to follow. Sure, there were rumblings that Odell Beckham Jr. never wanted to be a member of the Cleveland Browns but that was it, rumblings. Stability was the key going forward, everyone knew it.
Then 2021 happened and the team has unraveled at the seams apparently. First, it was Beckham requesting a trade right before the NFL trade deadline during the 2021 season. Secondly, we saw Baker Mayfield request a trade right after the first failed trade attempt of Deshaun Watson. Now thirdly, we have Kareem Hunt, wanting out of Cleveland after the team has failed to give him an extension.
Hunt is in an odd place where he both deserves an extension and doesn’t. He probably wants more than he’s worth and I’ve stated many times that Hunt isn’t as good as fans want to make him out to be. He isn’t the dynamic receiver people pretend he is and he has a nasty habit of hitting opposing players and then stopping his feet.
He’s a great second-option, but he’s a very average starter. So for him to want a trade isn’t unsurprising but it is the developing pattern the team has had to deal with over the last 10 months.
The pattern of trade requests is pretty stark with this team and while teams get them all the time, to have had two starters and a primary reserved all ask for trades in under a year is not a good sign. Though, could it be that the regime is toxic (probably), or is there another underlining factor that is going into all of this?
What does this stream of high-profile trade requests mean for the Browns?
So we have to accept one of two very unfortunate truths. The first is that the Browns are so mismanaged currently, and there is so much strife inside of the walls dating back to 2021, that the team’s best players are no longer hiding their discontent with the situation at hand, hence the trades. We’ve seen some pretty big reactions (requesting trades) and some smaller ones, like John Johnson III being vocal about the play calling. Then we have Jarvis Landry, who has been alleged to be someone that split the locker room during the Mayfield and Beckham drama.
So is it the leadership? Probably but there is also another point that needs to be made.
So far, the three men, plus a fourth in David Njoku (who requested a trade in 2020) are all players brought in by the previous regimes. Mayfield, Hunt, Beckham, and Njoku were all brought in by Sashi Brown or John Dorsey, not Andrew Berry.
It’s hard to tell if Brown and Dorsey saught different types of guys compared to Berry, but I wouldn’t think their tastes are that different. What can be said, however, is that while Berry’s leadership has seen some relatively uneven drafting and some lackluster, big-money, free agent signings; none of his players are requesting trades.
The Browns are/were filled with guys who aren’t known to be shy about what they want, and considering most of them have huge red flags (Myles Garrett’s helmet, Mayfield’s arrest, Landry’s domestic violence accusation, and fighting in a game), we see that the last regime really didn’t value certain things when acquiring talent.
That’s not to say Berry will be any better historically, he already brought in Malick McDowell and Deshaun Watson, but so far none of his players have requested a trade. At least not yet.
It seems no matter who is running things in Cleveland, controversy will always follow.