The Cleveland Browns are not getting the most out of Kareem Hunt so far this season.
If we’ve learned anything from the first three weeks of the season, it’s that Nick Chubb is an MVP candidate, and Kareem Hunt is showing signs of a slowdown. Chubb is very likely going to win the NFL rushing title should he stay healthy, and with the upheaval and dysfunction on this team and at the quarterback position, you can’t argue that Chubb has kept this team going.
Yet, despite what fans have said since his arrival, Hunt has never been nearly as good as Chubb as a player. Chubb has lost a lot of carries to Hunt, despite the fact Chubb is leaps and bounds a better player.
We’re seeing that on display this year. Chubb is averaging 5.5 yards per carry, while Hunt is barely at 4.2. Hunt, who is supposed to be a good pass-catching back, is only at 6 yards per catch. That puts him in the same territory as guys like Saquan Barkley, Christian McCaffery, and Najee Harris.
The only problem with that is six yards a reception isn’t great, and unlike Barkley, McCaffery, or Harris, Hunt isn’t the featured back. It’s excusable that those three have lower numbers, as they’re playing more reps. And in McCaffery’s case, a bad offense.
Hunt ranks just 24th in the league in yards receiving among all running backs, and 24th in rushing yards. I’m not going to believe for one minute that Jerome Ford or D’Ernest Johnson couldn’t do the same thing. Hunt has only had two noteworthy years in the NFL, his rookie year, and 2021.
The Cleveland Browns should trade Kareem Hunt if this is the best he’s going to be
Regardless of the reason why Hunt has only played two full NFL seasons. While he’s played, he hasn’t always looked like the Pro Bowl back so many people think he is. He isn’t a bad running back by any means, but there’s a perception he’s as good as Chubb, and is just as invaluable. That’s been proven a lie.
He’s had 45 touches on 46 opportunities and has averaged just 4.4 yards regardless of how he gets the ball. He also has just two touchdowns on the year. Yet, I’m supposed to believe he’s worth a new contract. No, he doesn’t. He’s not worth the money he’ll want and the Browns have two running backs who should be able to replace him and his production.
Hunt has not shown himself to be invaluable and if someone comes calling, the Browns should be interested. Regardless of the rounds, I would straight-up trade Hunt for two draft picks. With the way he’s playing, he won’t be valued at a 3rd or 4th round with a compensatory pick.
As it bares repeating, since so many don’t get it, the NFL doesn’t just give a third-round pick for a player the team loses. It’s dependent on a player’s production, the size of his new contract, and what free agents the team acquires or loses in the free agency period besides this specific player.
In this case, Hunt.
So if the Browns can get two draft picks, even if they’re late picks for Hunt, they should leap at that. It’s better to get guaranteed value you can rely on, than gamble with a formula that is designed to limit compensation.
If there’s a suitor, trade Hunt, and give Johnson some more reps.