Kareem Hunt will test the waters as a free agent this offseason but there’s still a chance — albeit very slim — that he ends up back with the Cleveland Browns.
Despite some lackluster numbers, Hunt — a former rushing leader — will likely have suitors as he searches for a new home. But if teams don’t show interest, Scott Petrak of The Chronicle-Telegram could see him coming back to Cleveland on a “cheap deal.”
“The only way Kareem Hunt returns [to the Browns] is if no other team wants him and he returns on a cheap deal,” Petrak said on SiriusXM Monday.
Hunt finished the year with 468 yards on 123 carries. He also added 35 catches but wasn’t the nice change of pace to Nick Chubb that he was in the past. His per carry average of 3.8 was the worst of his career and his opportunities tapered off towards the end of the year. He had more than five carries just once over the final five games.
Hunt Said His Goodbye to Cleveland After Season
It’s not the most impressive season to put on tape for teams considering signing Hunt, although he would likely be an upgrade for a handful of teams around the league looking for a veteran back. So does he get skunked in free agency and end up back in Cleveland? Probably not considering how things ended with the Browns.
Hunt appeared to say his goodbye to Cleveland after his final game in a Browns uniform, looking forward to his next opportunity.
“It meant a lot,” Hunt said. “It don’t get much better than playing for your hometown team and giving it your all each and every time you touch the field. But God’s got a plan, I’m looking forward to what he has in store for me, so we’ll see what it is.”
Hunt Enjoyed Partnership With Nick Chubb
If there is an upside for Hunt returning to Cleveland it would be his partnership with Chubb. The duo was a force when they were clicking on all cylinders, although Chubb’s consistent and reliable contributions made it much harder for Hunt to find consistent work.
Chubb was named to a fourth consecutive Pro Bowl and finished the year with 1,525 yards on the ground. That was good for third in the NFL behind Titans RB Derrick Henry and Las Vegas Raiders back Josh Jacobs.
While there was potential for Hunt to become upset with his workload, he had nothing but good things to say about his backfield buddy.
“Nick is a great teammate, a great person, one of my best friends,” Hunt said. “I’m happy for him. He could’ve did that multiple years, I feel like. He’s always been a not selfish guy and always playing hard for his team no matter what the scoreboard says.”
With Hunt out of the picture, it’d likely be Jerome Ford taking over a larger role in the backfield. Ford was drafted by the Browns fifth-round last season and there is a belief he’ll be the backup to Chubb next season.