Kareem Hunt may return to the Cleveland Browns but the team needs to move on
The Cleveland Browns and Kareem Hunt may rejoin forces but it’s time to move on from each other.
The Cleveland Browns have had some moderate success with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt as a duel threats. Chubb, easily one of the three best running backs in the NFL and has been since his rookie year, has carried most of the load, but Hunt did do some work for the team, so it’d be unfair to say he was a waste of a roster space or even bad at his job. He wasn’t a Top 10 running back as so many claimed, but he was fine. A good change of pace back.
According to some, Hunt remains a player the team has eyes on due to the market not valuing him as much as he’d probably hoped. So a return to Cleveland is possible. That’s not exactly something the team should pursue. There were some issues with Hunt’s play in Cleveland.
Firstly, he wasn’t the same runner in Cleveland as he was in Kansas City. He tried to bully his way through defenders, and it didn’t work as well. Both Chubb and Hunt had similar styles in this regard, with Chubb and Hunt not being shy to avoid contact, but Chubb has an innate ability to make contact with an opposing player at the worst possible position, ensuring that if a player does get a piece of Chubb, it’s usually just an arm tackle that Chubb runs through.
Hunt does something a bit similar, but usually to lesser effect. Chubb keeps his feet going, allowing him to rip through weak arm tackles with ease, but Hunt will collide full force with a defender and body him. This often sees Hunt come to a near-full stop, which affects how much yardage he can gain.
The other big issue with Hunt is that he’s not been the receiver the team had hoped he’d be. Maybe this is an unfair statement, as Hunt was a fine receiver for a running back, but many fans of the team were expecting Marshall or Kevin Faulk levels of production, and Hunt never gave the team that.
The team needed more from him than they got. Hunt wasn’t the player he was advertised to be, nor was the player many in the media hyped him to be. He was fine, but it was time to move on.
Kareem Hunt has to go so Jerome Ford can show off what he can do
Jerome Ford is far more important to this team going forward than many may realize. Chubb will be 28 years old by the end of 2023, and most running backs hit the wall by 30. Ford, at just 23 years old, could be a long-term option for the Browns at running back. He’s got to show the team what he can do.
That can’t happen if Hunt returns to the team.
Now, the Browns are geared up for what looks like a massive push to compete for the next couple of years and no further, so there may be some who wouldn’t mind bringing back Hunt and sacrificing Ford’s development. After all, the goal is to win a title sooner rather than later. It’ll be much easier to do so in 2023 than it would be in 2027, so why not go all in and bring back Hunt?
But there remains another issue, the Browns’ offense has changed. There are many in the NFL who believe that a guy like Chubb may only see 12-15 carries per game under the new offense. If that ends up coming to fruition, the team won’t have the same need for a player like Hunt or even Ford.
After all, if they’re running it only 20 times a game, and throwing it 40-50 times, why carry two cow-bell running backs?
Even if Hunt would return for $1.5 or $2 million, that money would be better served getting another defensive player or going toward a receiver.
The Hunt era is over in Cleveland, for one reason or another. So let it be over.