Kareem Hunt’s time with the Cleveland Browns may be at an end.
The Cleveland Browns are seemingly done with the Kareem Hunt era, though the exact end date is unknown. It was reported on Saturday evening that Hunt was sitting out specific drills after requesting a new contract. Some called it a holdout of sorts, but it was more like a work slowdown, as he still participated in the most important drills.
That has since changed, as Hunt has now requested a trade from the Cleveland Browns, which has since been declined. The move is a peculiar one, as the Browns can’t carry five running backs heading into the season without weakening another position of depth and either Hunt or D’Ernest Johnson is expected to be gone by 2023, so not trading someone is nonsensical
Especially with Demetric Felton and Jerome Ford on the roster still as well. Obviously, Nick Chubb isn’t going anywhere, but no one else is truly safe. This was a perfect opportunity to trade Hunt for a mid-round pick, as they likely won’t re-sign him in the offseason anyway.
The trade request and now disgruntled nature of Hunt only further compound an offseason that has made the Browns seem anything but competent in the third year of the Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski era of the team.
While we can talk about the failings of this front office until we’re blue in the face, we’d rather talk about what the cost of Hunt is in all three possible scenarios; an extension, a trade, and a new team giving him a deal in the offseason.
The cost of Kareem Hunt for the Cleveland Browns
Let’s talk best case scenario. I will say right now that I don’t subscribe to the notion that Kareem Hunt, when healthy, is a Top 10 or even Top 15 running back in the NFL. I won’t buy that theory, not even if it was on sale for a discounted price. I think he’s a Top 25 running back right now, maybe even Top 20 but he’s not even as good as D’Ernest Johnson. What Hunt brought to the table was his receiving abilities and that has been disappointing. So I’d give Hunt a two-year, $13.5 million extension, but only $4 million guaranteed. He’s injury prone has a nasty habit of hitting a defender and stopping his feet and his hands aren’t the game-changer so many claimed.
I would trade Hunt. I, personally, never would have signed him in the first place, but I would trade him now, for sure. I think a 4th round pick for him is about fair, but only for a team hurting at the position. Hunt can produce if given the rock as a featured player, so a team like Houston or Arizona, would be the perfect landing spot for him. (How James Connor got to a Pro Bowl with his lackluster rushing stats is beyond me)
If Hunt were to hit free agency, I think you could see him sign a three-to-four year deal, worth around $25 million, with at least half-guaranteed. Buffalo is a team that I think would be able to use his skill set, even if he’s not the top star runner that many think he is.