Kareem Hunt

Browns GM John Dorsey On Key Players, Draft Plans

Browns GM John Dorsey addressed the media this morning and provided a number of noteworthy tidbits. Here are some highlights (compiled via the Twitter accounts of Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com):

On the status of RB Duke Johnson, who requested a trade a few weeks ago:

Dorsey said that Johnson’s trade request does not change how the club views him, and that he still envisions a key role for Johnson in the Browns’ offense. Johnson has not been with the team since the offseason workout program began on April 1, but there has been communication between the team and Johnson’s agent. There is still no word on whether Johnson will report for mandatory minicamp in June, but it sounds as though Dorsey is not particularly keen to honor Johnson’s trade request at this time (which means there may not be a particularly large market for his services).

On trading into the first round:

Dorsey did not rule out the possibility of getting his club back into the first round of this year’s draft, and he acknowledged the benefit of getting the potential fifth-year option for a top collegiate prospect. He said he has talked to teams picking in the bottom of the first round about a potential trade, but he added that he always does that as a part of his due diligence. The Browns’ first draft choice this year is the No. 49 overall selection, so they would need to give up a lot to jump at least 17 spots into the first round.

On Odell Beckham Jr.:

Dorsey said OBJ has not reported to the team for voluntary workouts, but he does not sound concerned. He said it would be nice to have the star receiver present, but he added that Beckham is a professional who understands what he needs to do to get ready for the season.

On Kareem Hunt:

Dorsey said that Hunt has “worked his fanny off” both with the team and in the community, and he is impressed with the progress Hunt has made.

On Morgan Burnett:

Dorsey sees the newly-acquired defender as the Browns’ starting strong safety.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Rumors: Hunt, Simmons, Draft, OBJ

The Browns are asking the NFL to allow Kareem Hunt to remain with the team during his eight-game suspension, a source tells Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer. Players are typically banned from the team facility and all activities during personal conduct policy suspensions, but the club is looking for an exemption in Hunt’s case.

Given Hunt’s history, this could be an uphill battle for the Browns. While we wait for developments on that front, here’s more from Cleveland:

  • It sounds like GM John Dorsey will consider Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons in the upcoming draft, despite his red flags. “I think from your standpoint, what you should do is you should talk to the coaches and the support system at Starkville, Mississippi State, and just see what kind of man that guy really is,” Dorsey said (via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal). The Browns might not be able to land Simmons with their first pick at No. 49 overall, but trading up is always a possibility.
  • Dorsey expects Odell Beckham Jr. to arrive in Cleveland for the start of the voluntary offseason program on Monday, April 1 (via Cabot). “He’s excited,’’ Dorsey said. “There’s a genuine excitement there. There’s familiarity with some teammates. There’s familiarity with his position coach. I’m sure he’s … he’s got a relationship with Baker so I’m sure he’s excited to be part of this new beginning for him.’’

Browns RB Kareem Hunt Suspended Eight Games

The NFL has suspended Browns running back Kareem Hunt eight games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

“I want to again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said in a statement (via USA Today’s Mike Jones on Twitter). “I know that my behavior hurt a lot of people, and I again apologize to them. I respect the league’s decision on discipline, and I appreciate the time I spent with Commissioner Goodell last week. I’m grateful for my time with the Browns over the last month and thankful to all the people in the organization that have welcome me. I also appreciate all of the support I received from my union through this process. My commitment to earning the trust of the league, my teammates, the organization, and this community through my actions will continue, and I understand there is a lot of work ahead of me before I’m able to fully return to playing the game I love.”

The eight-game suspension is about on-par with expectations, as Hunt was expected to receive at least a six-game ban. NFL Network’s James Palmer tweets that the running back did not appeal the ban. Now that the suspension has been assessed, the running back is allowed to attend Browns offseason activities (and, subsequently, training camp).

The 23-year-old is under investigation for three separate 2018 events — most notably the incident captured on video that showed him shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland hotel/apartment complex in February of last year. After that video surfaced, Hunt was placed on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt, and the Chiefs soon waived the Pro Bowl running back.

After going unclaimed on waivers, Hunt was connected to multiple teams before landing with the Browns. The running back signed a one-year deal that included a base salary of $645K, a $25K per-game roster bonus for each game that he is active, and a $55K offseason workout bonus. Hunt will ultimately give up around $303K of that $645K base salary, and he’ll have a chance to earn around $200K in per-game bonuses upon his return (via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter). He would have earned $678K via his rookie contract in Kansas City.

The 2017 third-round pick broke onto the scene as a rookie, compiling 1,782 yards and 11 touchdowns on offense. He continued that production in 2018, as he collected 14 touchdowns through 11 games.

When the running back eventually returns from his suspension, he’ll be joining a talented Cleveland offense. While Hunt is out, the team can lean on 2018 second-rounder Nick Chubb and pass-catcher Duke Johnson Jr., while the passing game will revolve around quarterback Baker Mayfield and wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Details On Kareem Hunt’s Deal With Browns

Kareem Hunt‘s one-year deal with the Browns includes a base salary of $645K, a $25K per-game roster bonus for each game that he is active, and a $55K offseason workout bonus, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. It’s not exactly a top of the market deal for a running back, but it’s actually a better deal that the one Hunt had with the Chiefs prior to his release. 

Hunt will be able to earn $420K more from the Browns on a new contract than he would under his his old contract, had he been claimed, as Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap notes (on Twitter). There’s also upside for next year – Hunt will have the ability to earn more as a restricted free agent in 2020 than he would have as a fourth-year rookie.

The Browns’ decision to sign Hunt has stirred up some controversy and the details of his new deal won’t help ease the criticism. Recently, GM John Dorsey admitted the Browns’ investigation into Hunt’s past did not include speaking with the victim of his hotel assault, which didn’t help matters.

I talked to a lot of people (but) I didn’t get a chance to talk to that victim,” Dorsey said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “That’s probably part of her privacy stuff.”

Hunt won the 2017 rushing title with 1,327 yards on the ground. Prior to his Kansas City departure last year, he compiled 1,202 yards from scrimmage and scored 14 total touchdowns in eleven games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Hunt, Reid

Two teams made big contract decisions on Monday. The Browns added Kareem Hunt before most expected the embattled running back to sign, and the Panthers made sure Eric Reid would not hit the market again after he stayed in free agency for six months in 2018. Here are the details of those deals:

  • Reid signed a three-year deal worth $21.7MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding that the contract includes $10MM in total guarantees and a $7.5MM signing bonus. Reid, who played for a $1MM base salary in 2018, has $9MM in full guarantees coming his way on his second Panthers contract, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter). All of those guarantees will be paid out in 2019; there is no guaranteed money on this deal due after this year. There are $1.95MM worth of incentives in the safety’s agreement, which can max out at $23.65MM.
  • Hunt signed a one-year contract worth the league minimum with the Browns, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports noting (on Twitter) the deal could max out beyond $1MM if certain incentives are met. There are no guarantees included, but Rapoport adds (via Twitter) per-game roster bonuses and workout bonuses are present in this deal.

Latest On Browns, Kareem Hunt

The Browns’ decision to sign Kareem Hunt has obviously stirred up some controversy. Hunt is back on the commissioner’s exempt list and is being investigated for three off-field incidents from 2018.

John Dorsey said, per ESPNCleveland’s Tony Grossi (Twitter link), the length of Hunt’s suspension may be known within a couple of weeks. Hunt is expected to receive at least a six-game suspension, and given that two other alleged incidents accompany the video of the Cleveland-area native kicking a woman, the 23-year-old running back may be banned longer than that.

Once the suspension is assessed, Hunt will be able to attend Browns offseason activities and then training camp. Dorsey expects the 2017 rushing champion to be present in April when the Browns begin their offseason program.

Although Dorsey said the Browns conducted a thorough investigation, the second-year Cleveland GM admitted this did not include speaking with the victim. He added an effort was not made to do so. Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, the latter a member of the NFL’s conduct committee, signed off on the move.

I talked to a lot of people (but) I didn’t get a chance to talk to that victim,” Dorsey said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “That’s probably part of her privacy stuff.”

Dorsey spoke with Hunt several times before making this decision (Twitter link via Grossi). The former Chiefs GM, who took a chance on Tyreek Hill after a domestic violence incident, said he realizes the backlash that will come the Browns’ way and indicated this is Hunt’s last chance.

This signing will place Hunt back in his hometown. The former third-round Dorsey draft choice out of Toledo carried a reputation as a respectful, hard-working person in the Chiefs’ building but also one who dealt with alcohol and anger issues outside of it, per Albert Breer of SI.com. Although Dorsey did not confirm Hunt has been attending treatment for these issues, both Cabot and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport report he has been through counseling.

If Hunt is on the Browns’ active roster for at least six games, he will become a restricted free agent at season’s end. If a suspension shelves him for more than 10 games, Hunt will be an exclusive-rights free agent in 2020.

The Browns now have Hunt, Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson on their roster. Both Johnson and Chubb are signed through 2021, the former via three-year, $15.6MM extension agreed to in 2018. Dorsey said Johnson’s roster spot is not yet in danger.

I don’t think it makes him expendable yet,’’ he said. “You have to research your options and see moving forward what’s best for the organization. Duke is a fine football player.”

Cleveland’s passing-downs back, a third-round pick during the Ray Farmer regime, had his worst year as a pro in 2018. He totaled just 630 yards from scrimmage, doing so after surpassing 1,000 in 2017. Dorsey has jettisoned many players brought to Cleveland during past regimes since taking over 14 months ago.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Sign Kareem Hunt

The Browns have signed running back Kareem Hunt, the club announced Monday.

This will reunite Hunt with John Dorsey, who drafted the embattled running back in the third round during his final draft as Chiefs GM in 2017. That said, this is borderline shocking given Hunt’s status. Now that the Browns have signed Hunt, he will be placed back on the commissioner’s exempt list, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets.

Hunt signed a one-year deal that could be worth more than $1MM, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). This does not factor in the suspension, so Hunt will not max out this value. (He would have made $678K in 2019 on his rookie contract.) The 2017 rushing champion is due to be a restricted free agent after the season, so the Browns would stand to have an easier time retaining him in 2020.

Hunt, 23, is under investigation for three separate 2018 events — most notably the incident captured on video that showed him shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland hotel/apartment complex in February of last year.

The NFL placed Hunt on the exempt list before the Chiefs cut him in November, and Rapoport tweets Hunt’s goal was to sign before the discipline was levied. The investigation is expected to conclude by March, but Graziano adds (via Twitter) it might be a while before the Browns know how long Hunt will be banned. He will almost certainly end up missing a sizable portion of the 2019 season.

My relationship and interaction with Kareem since 2016 in college was an important part of this decision-making process, but we then did extensive due diligence with many individuals, including clinical professionals, to have a better understanding of the person he is today and whether it was prudent to sign him,” the second-year Browns GM said.

Kareem took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse and secondly, just as importantly, he is undergoing and is committed to necessary professional treatment and a plan that has been clearly laid out.”

Considering Hunt’s suspension is not yet known, and the fact that the talented back has been out of the league less than three months, the Browns will take heat for this move. While it was expected Hunt would receive another chance, due to his immense talent, it was not expected he would sign more than a month before free agency.

Given what we know about Kareem through our extensive research, we believe he deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization. … Here at the Browns, there is a detailed plan with expectations laid out that he understands and must follow, because any similar incident will not be tolerated.

“We will support Kareem through this process and utilize our resources, however permitted, to help him become successful on and off the field as long as he continues to show the commitment necessary to represent this organization.”

This will place Hunt mere minutes away from the scene of his defining moment. The Toledo alum grew up in Willoughby, Ohio, a suburb just east of Cleveland. He is also under investigation for an alleged assault at a Kansas City nightclub from January 2018 and an alleged incident at a Ohio resort later last year.

Hunt gone through alcohol and anger management treatment since the Chiefs waived him, Rapoport adds (on Twitter), and will continue to do so.

I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said. “What I did was wrong and inexcusable. That is not the man I was raised to be, and I’ve learned a great deal from that experience and certainly should have been more truthful about it after the fact. 

I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation. I’m a work in progress as a person, but I’m committed to taking advantage of the support systems that I have in place to become the best and healthier version of myself.”

From a football standpoint, this crowds the Browns’ backfield. If/when Hunt receives the green light to play in 2019, he will join a team that already employs Nick Chubb. Cleveland’s second-round pick last year averaged 5.2 yards per carry, amassing 996 on the season, and scored eight touchdowns. The Browns also have passing-down back Duke Johnson, who signed an extension to stay in Cleveland last year. Johnson’s $1.8MM 2019 salary becomes fully guaranteed on March 17, Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio tweets.

Hunt won the 2017 rushing title in just more than 15 games, gaining 1,327 yards on the ground. Prior to his Kansas City departure, he compiled 1,202 yards from scrimmage and scored 14 total touchdowns last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Goodell, Hunt, Foster, Redskins, Kyler Murray, Whitehead

Commissioner Roger Goodell gave his annual press conference Wednesday, and was unsurprisingly asked about former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. Goodell said the investigation into the incident that led the Chiefs to cut Hunt “should conclude ‘soon’ and that he’ll go back on the exempt list whenever” he ends up signing with a team, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

As Rapsheet points out, Hunt is looking at a “likely suspension”, although it’s unclear what the length may be. We heard a couple of weeks ago that the investigation was likely to be over by March. Shortly before that, it was reported that the Bears had spoken to Hunt. Chicago seems like a strong possibility for Hunt, as Jordan Howard struggled heavily this year and it would reunite Hunt with his former offensive coordinator in Matt Nagy.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of possible suspensions, Goodell also weighed in on Reuben Foster‘s situation. In the same tweet, Rapoport wrote that Goodell said “just because his charge was dropped doesn’t mean he won’t be suspended.” Foster recently saw the charges dropped for his most recent arrest, but he’s apparently not out of the woods yet. Goodell also said that he plans to speak in person with Foster again before making a decision, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post. Foster was claimed off waivers by the Redskins after the 49ers cut him late in the season, but he’s been on the exempt list ever since.
  • The Redskins recently promoted quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell to offensive coordinator, but that doesn’t mean head coach Jay Gruden is giving up play-calling duties. Redskins team president Bruce Allen said during a recent radio appearance that as of now the plan is still for Gruden to call the plays, according to John Keim of ESPN.com. Allen did leave the door open for things to change, and other sources told Keim that a change is still in play.
  • Despite declaring for the NFL draft, Kyler Murray is still very much undecided about whether he’ll play football or baseball, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). Rapoport notes in the video that Murray hasn’t yet hired an agent for football or committed to attending the combine next month, and says the A’s, the MLB team that holds Murray’s rights, are still negotiating to potentially sweeten his deal and convince him to play baseball. He’ll have to make a decision pretty soon, and we should know a lot more within the next few weeks.
  • Former Cowboys and Jets kick returner Lucky Whitehead was arrested in Virginia earlier this week and charged with driving under the influence, according to TMZ. Whitehead was released by the Cowboys in 2017 after a bizarre incident where it was wrongly reported that Whitehead had been arrested after someone had given his identity to police. He was claimed off waivers by the Jets, and spent the 2017 season with them. Cut this past August, he spent the entire 2018 season out of football. Now arrested for real, this won’t help his chances of getting back into the league.

Jets Not Interested In Kareem Hunt

The Jets are on the hunt for a running back this offseason, but their search will not include free agent Kareem Hunt, Manish Mehta of the Daily News hears. Despite Hunt’s talent, sources tell Mehta that the Jets do not want to get involved with the player after surveillance footage surfaced of him assaulting a woman. 

The league is currently investigating Hunt and the process is expected to finish before the start of free agency in March. It’s likely that multiple teams will do their homework on Hunt, but his market will obviously be limited by his past transgressions.

The Jets have been willing to gamble on players with iffy track records under GM Mike Maccagnan, but they appear to be drawing a line when it comes to domestic violence. For example, two years ago, the Jets reportedly took Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon off their draft board.

There are some things that are extremely egregious that I personally have a very hard time with condoning,” Maccagnan said before the 2017 draft. “And violence in particular — that’s a very serious thing to me. That’s something that for me and my wife, we’ve had a personal experience with that. I would say, simply, we don’t take it lightly.”

After the Jets ranked 29th in yards per carry last year, they’re in desperate need of a running back upgrade. Even though Hunt captured the league’s NFL rushing title as a rookie with 1,327 yards on the ground, he won’t be in the mix for Gang Green.

The Jets’ lack of interest in Hunt could improve the odds of a Le’Veon Bell signing, though they may prefer to spread their $100MM+ in cap room around.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Expected To Conclude Kareem Hunt Investigation By March

The NFL’s investigation into the three incidents that have put former Chiefs star Kareem Hunt‘s playing career in jeopardy is still ongoing, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. However, Rapoport writes that the league is expected to conclude its investigation before free agency opens in March, which means that any clubs interested in signing Hunt will have all the information they need prior to addressing their running back situation.

For now, Hunt remains on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, but once the investigation is over, the league will announce a suspension for Hunt, which is expected to be at least six games. But Rapoport suggests that, since Hunt was placed on the list with five weeks left in the 2018 regular season, he could see the length of his ban reduced.

Many have believed that the supremely talented 23-year-old would be playing in 2019, and the information that Rapoport passes along this morning certainly supports that notion. While he may be sidelined to start the 2019 campaign, it appears that he could be eligible to return to game action no later than October.

Although the Bears are the only team that we know has contacted Hunt since he was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, Rapoport notes that several clubs have touched base with him and have been keeping tabs on him. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com agrees, saying that multiple teams are interested in Hunt and that he is expected to sign with a new team sooner rather than later.

For his part, Hunt has not spoken publicly since an interview he gave to ESPN shortly after his release, and Rapoport says he has been quietly attempting to turn his life and career around.

Hunt has undergone counseling for anger and alcohol issues.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.