Kareem Hunt

Browns Will Not Trade Kareem Hunt

The Browns are once again a popular pick to make a deep postseason run, and their talent at running back is one of many reasons why. The depth chart is topped by Nick Chubb, who has earned two Pro Bowl nods in three professional seasons and whose 5.2 YPC average underscores his excellence. Behind Chubb, of course, is Kareem Hunt, a similarly capable runner who is also a force in the passing game.

When the Rams lost Cam Akers to an Achilles tear last week, there was chatter that LA could look to the free agent or trade markets to replace him. While the Rams have indicated they are comfortable with their in-house options, Hunt would profile as an intriguing trade target for any RB-needy team given the Browns’ depth (Cleveland is also rostering third-year pro D’Ernest Johnson, who has played well in limited snaps, and sixth-round rookie Demetric Felton).

Hunt’s trade appeal is heightened by the fact that he is tied to eminently reasonable base salaries of $1.3MM and $1.35MM over the next two seasons. However, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com (subscription required) writes that the Browns have no interest in trading Hunt.

As Cabot observes, the Browns did not suffer much of a drop-off at all when Hunt replaced an injured Chubb for a few games in 2020, and she expects the club to continue to expand Hunt’s role. Thanks to Hunt’s receiving prowess, he and Chubb could appear on the field together a great deal this season, which will only make a potentially explosive offense even more dynamic. So regardless of whatever injuries or underperformance rival clubs might experience this summer, Hunt will not be made available.

In other Browns news, Cabot reports that no players will open training camp on the PUP list. Players like Odell Beckham, Grant Delpit, and Greedy Williams are all coming off major injuries, but they will be ready to hit the field with their teammates right away (though the Browns will continue to be cautious, of course).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

This Date In Transactions History: Browns Sign Kareem Hunt

Two years ago today, the Browns made a controversial move that has (so far) paid off for the organization. On February 11, 2019, Cleveland announced that the signing of running back Kareem Hunt.

From an on-the-field perspective, the move made plenty of sense. Hunt ran for 1,327 yards as a rookie in 2017, and he followed that up with a 14-touchdown season in 2018 despite playing in only 11 games. The talent was (and still is) undeniable. Hunt also had a relationship with former Browns GM John Dorsey that dated back to their stints in Kansas City.

From an off-the-field perspective, the move was divisive. At the time of the signing, Hunt was under investigation for three separate 2018 events — most notably an incident captured on video that showed him shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland complex. Hunt was released by the Chiefs following the release of the video. That transaction took place before the NFL could react, and following his signing with Cleveland, Hunt was promptly placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list.

The literal signing also proved to be a topic of contention. Hunt inked a one-year deal that could be worth up to $1MM. This was an increase from the $678K he was set to make with Kansas City in 2019. While a subsequent suspension would reduce any salary, Hunt still took home more money than if he had been retained by his former team.

Hunt was ultimately banned for the first eight games of the 2019 season, and he was reinstated by the league in early November. He naturally slid in as a backup behind Nick Chubb, who would soon complete a Pro Bowl season that saw him rush for 1,494 yards and eight touchdowns. Hunt ultimately appeared in eight games (three starts) for the Browns in 2019, collecting 464 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns.

The running back was slapped with a second-round tender after the season, and he ended up getting a two-year, $13.25MM extension from the organization this past September. Hunt saw a much larger role during his second season in Cleveland, compiling 1,145 yards from scrimmage and 11 scores. Hunt also saw time in two playoff games, collecting three total touchdowns. The running back remains under contract through the 2022 season, which is especially relevant considering Chubb’s impending free agency after next season. While the two-headed monster should return in 2021, Cleveland’s backfield could look a whole lot different in 2022.

Hunt’s past continues to make him a controversial figure, and both the player and the Browns will have a tough time shaking this notion as long as Hunt’s in Cleveland. Still, when coupling the player’s production with the future flexibility he’ll provide, there’s no doubting that the move has worked out for Cleveland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Bullock, Hunt, Browns

The Bengals claimed K Austin Seibert off waivers from the Browns, and when that happened, most assumed that incumbent Randy Bullock would be placed on IR, or perhaps even released. However, head coach Zac Taylor said he expects Bullock to stay right where he is. “Randy’s our kicker,” Taylor said. (Twitter link via Ben Baby of ESPN.com).

Cincinnati suffered a difficult Week 1 loss against the Chargers, and Bullock shanked a 31-yard field goal try that would have sent the game to overtime. He also appeared to injure his left calf on the kick — though some are skeptical — but Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported that the injury isn’t serious (Twitter link). In fairness to Bullock, he did make a 50-yarder and a 43-yarder earlier in the game, and he converted his only PAT.

The Bengals take on Seibert’s former employer in a divisional battle tomorrow night.

Now for more from the AFC North:

  • The Browns recently handed running back Kareem Hunt a two-year extension, and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com has a few details. As previously reported, the new money can max out at $13.25MM, and Hunt will take home base salaries of $4MM, $1.3MM, and $1.35MM over the next three seasons. The remaining money will come via roster bonuses designed to make sure that Hunt keeps himself out of trouble. One is tied to his making it to training camp without incident, one is tied to his making it to Week 1 without incident, and one is tied to his making it to the end of the season without incident. He will also receive weekly 53-man roster bonuses.
  • In the same piece linked above, Cabot reports that the Browns were indeed the team that would have been involved in a Jadeveon Clowney sign-and-trade with the Saints. In the proposed deal, which the NFL nixed, Cleveland would have signed Clowney to a one-year, $15MM contract, including a $5MM signing bonus. The team would have then shipped Clowney to New Orleans in exchange for a second-round pick and a player.
  • Cabot further notes that the Browns should be getting CB Greedy Williams back soon. Williams missed the team’s Week 1 loss to the Ravens with a shoulder injury but is not expected to land on IR.
  • The Steelers placed right tackle Zach Banner on IR yesterday.

Browns To Sign Kareem Hunt To Extension

The Browns have reached agreement with Kareem Hunt on a two-year, $13.25MM extension, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The new deal will keep the running back under contract through the 2022 season. 

[RELATED: Saints, Kamara “Extremely Close” To Deal]

The Browns gave Hunt a second NFL chance in 2018, despite disturbing video of him striking a woman at a Cleveland hotel. In that same year, he also got into a physical altercation with a man in Ohio. Many criticized the Browns for their decision to claim Hunt, but he has delivered for them on the field. With a 4.2 yards-per-carry average in Cleveland, Hunt has shown the talent that made him a national star in Kansas City.

Hunt was previously slated to be a free agent after earning $3.26MM in base pay this year. In the early stages of the pandemic, an pre-season extension seemed unlikely to go down. However, the two sides were able to come to terms on a number that satisfied the 25-year-old and didn’t break the bank for the Browns.

Hunt’s ~$6.5MM/year new money average roughly ties him with Chargers tailback Austin Ekeler towards the back of the Top 10 for RBs. Both players will be nudged down the list once Alvin Kamara finalizes his megadeal with the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns’ Kareem Hunt Hoping For Extension

Browns running back Kareem Hunt feels “lucky” and “blessed” to have the chance to play for the Browns, despite his off-the-field history. At the same time, he’d like to receive an extension from the team (via Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer).

[RELATED; Browns Exec Says COVID-19 May Impact Spending]

No question,‘’ Hunt said. “I’d definitely like to be a part of something like this. Everybody is here that I care about. I know everybody in the whole town. I would not mind playing for the Browns for a long time.

The Browns gave Hunt a second NFL chance in 2018, despite disturbing video of him striking a woman at a Cleveland hotel. In that same year, he also got into a physical altercation with a man in Ohio. On the field, he delivered a 4.2 yards-per-carry average. Off the field, this past January, he was cited for marijuana possession.

The new regime in Cleveland opted to stick with him, though they let him know that he has to do better.

Just pretty much [they’ve said] ‘I can’t have that. It’s not acceptable,‘’’ Hunt said. “I’ve got to be smarter and cannot be doing stuff like that. We had a good talk. They see me on the field as a guy who is going to make some plays this year and help the team win. That’s what I have been looking forward to. We have been talking. I keep in touch with coach all the time about what he wants to see and stuff like that.”

Hunt is slated to be a free agent after earning $3.26MM in base pay this year. The Browns probably aren’t in a rush to commit additional dollars and years to him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns’ Kareem Hunt Signs Tender

Browns running back Kareem Hunt has signed his second-round tender, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. With that, Hunt will earn $3.27MM on the year. 

The Browns took a gamble on Hunt in 2018, despite his troubled history in Kansas City. The Chiefs cut the running back after a surveillance video showed him striking a woman at a Cleveland hotel. In that same year, he also got into a physical altercation with a man in Ohio. Hunt promised the Browns that he would work hard on the field and clean up his act off of the field. On the field, he held up his end of the bargain with a 4.2 yards per carry average. Off the field, this past January, he was cited for marijuana possession, though those charges were dropped in March.

Despite the citation, the Browns tendered Hunt at the second-round level this offseason. He’s now set to resume his role as a complementary back to starter Nick Chubb in 2020.

Hunt, a 2017 third-round pick, began his NFL career with a league-leading 1,327 rushing yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie. He continued that production up until his KC release in 2018 with 14 all-purpose TDs through eleven games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Tender Kareem Hunt, Release Morgan Burnett

The Browns placed a second-round tender on restricted free agent Kareem Hunt and released safety Morgan Burnett, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Both moves were expected, though the tender level for Hunt was in question. 

The second-round tender will cost roughly $3.3MM for 2020. If Hunt is signed to an offer sheet and the Browns decline to match, they would receive a second-round pick from the team signing him.

Hunt, of course, has been the subject of serious controversy in recent years. In 2018, the Chiefs cut Hunt after a surveillance video showed him striking a woman at a hotel in Cleveland. In that same year, he also got into a physical altercation with a man in Ohio. The Browns picked him up and Hunt vowed to make wholesale changes to his life. In January, police say Hunt was in possession of marijuana when they pulled him over for a traffic stop.

Since then, new Browns GM Andrew Berry has indicated that Hunt would be retained. On the field, he averaged nearly 60 yards from scrimmage per game and posted a 4.2 yards per carry mark.

Burnett, meanwhile, has been plagued by injuries over the last two seasons. The Browns released him with a failed-physical designation, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. An Achilles tear brought his 2019 season to an early end and the Browns, in turn, have terminated the second half of his two-year, $7.5MM deal. By shedding his deal, the Browns will save $3.375MM while carrying a dead money hit of $1.325MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Marijuana Charges For Browns’ Kareem Hunt

Running back Kareem Hunt will not face charges for possession of marijuana in connection with his January traffic stop, as Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal writes. The local police lieutenant did not dismiss the possibility of additional charges, but he says that’s an “unlikely” possibility. 

It’s good news for Hunt, whose status with the team was in question following the incident. In recent weeks, new GM Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski have offered support for Hunt, indicating that they’d be willing to move forward with him if he stayed on the right path and showed remorse.

Hunt is set for restricted free agency and the Browns have some time before deciding whether to tender him and which level of the tender to use. It’s not a given that they’ll retain him, but it seems likely.When asked at the combine, Berry told reporters “that’s the anticipation right now.” At minimum, the traffic stop incident probably won’t play a major role in their decision.

We’re looking forward to him being a member of our team,” Berry said, “provided that he and all of our players abide by our expectations.”

In a vacuum, the traffic stop doesn’t mean much. However, this slip-up raised some eyebrows given his previous history. In 2018, the Chiefs cut Hunt after a surveillance video showed him striking a woman at a hotel in Cleveland. In that same year, he also got into a physical altercation with a man in Ohio.

After serving an eight-game ban, Hunt averaged 4.2 yards per carry in a limited sample and also caught 37 passes for 285 yards. All together, he scored three all-purpose touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ohio Notes: Hunt, Burrow, Staff

Despite another new regime coming to Cleveland and Kareem Hunt running into more off-field trouble, the Pro Bowl running back expects to stay with the Browns for the 2020 season. He expects to be back with the Browns via high-level RFA tender or an extension, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (video link), and wants to remain with his hometown team. Hunt signed a one-year deal with Cleveland in 2019, but because he has just three years of service time, the controversial ex-Chief is not yet eligible for unrestricted free agency. To keep Hunt, the Browns will likely have to apply a first- or second-round tender on him. Hunt became available after a video showed him shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland hotel in 2018, leading to the Chiefs waiving him. He was pulled over while driving with marijuana in his vehicle last month. New Browns GM Andrew Berry was not with the team when John Dorsey signed Hunt, but his offseason comments point to the team moving to keep its Hunt-Nick Chubb backfield together for next season.

Here is the latest from the Ohio teams:

  • Joe Burrow‘s Bengals interest has come up at multiple points this offseason, with rumors circulating that the Ohio native may not be thrilled about going to the team that holds the No. 1 overall pick. But Burrow’s stance thus far likely points to nothing being decided until he meets with Bengals brass on the customary pre-draft tour — Combine visit, facility visit, workout — before he decides on his course of action, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link). Burrow’s “I do have leverage” comment was not an interjection but merely repeating a reporter’s question as part of a response. No player has maneuvered his way away from a team with the top pick since Eli Manning did so when the Chargers held the 2004 top pick.
  • Longtime Cowboys assistant Ben Bloom will resurface in Cleveland. The Browns are hiring Bloom as a senior defensive assistant, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link). Bloom started his NFL coaching career with the Browns, working on Eric Mangini‘s two staffs from 2009-10. He spent nine seasons on Jason Garrett‘s Cowboys staffs, the past two coaching Dallas’ linebackers.
  • Some around the league view the Patriots as a fit for nine-year Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. The Bengals, who are expected to draft Burrow at No. 1, plan to help Dalton work out a trade.

Browns GM On OBJ, Hunt, Free Agency

On Wednesday, the Browns formally introduced old friend and new GM Andrew Berry to the media. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from his presser:

  • It sounds like running back Kareem Hunt will have an opportunity to move forward with the Browns, despite his latest misstep. “With Kareem, we’ve communicated our expectations for him moving forward,” Berry said (via Jeff Risdon of USA Today). “We want guys who are going to be smart, tough, and accountable on and off the field. Kareem understands that.” Hunt, who was cut by the Chiefs after a video showed him shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland hotel, was recently found with marijuana and vodka after being pulled over by cops. The Browns can retain Hunt via the restricted free agent tender or negotiate a new deal with him, but it seems unlikely that they’ll want to make a long-term commitment to him at this time.
  • Berry offered similar thoughts regarding Odell Beckham Jr., though he noted that both he and Hunt will have to fit into the Browns’ “culture in terms of being smart, tough and accountable.” The GM says that both he and head coach Kevin Stefanski have chatted with Beckham, an indication that they’re all on the same page. OBJ reportedly wanted out of Cleveland towards the end of the season, but we recently heard that the Browns’ new regime has every intention of keeping him. OBJ had “just” 1,035 yards in a down year, but the Browns believe that he can get back to his old form in short order.
  • Berry says the Browns plan to “aggressively add talent” this offseason (via 92.3 The Fan). With roughly $50MM in available cap room, the GM will have opportunities to spend in March before he makes his pick at No. 10 overall in April.