“I do think the Browns will add another running back before the season, but it won’t be a big-name back such as a Dalvin Cook or Ezekiel Elliott, and they won’t re-sign Kareem Hunt,” Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot wrote in the June 18 edition of her mailbag column. “I think it will be a potential No. 3 back behind Nick Chubb and Jerome Ford who can serve as a solid No. 2 in the event of injury, and churn out 100 yards if both Chubb and Ford are hurt. I don’t think it will be hard to find a back to fill the role, especially behind this offensive line.”
Hunt spent the last four seasons with the Browns and now is a free agent. In all, he rushed for 1,874 yards and added 973 yards receiving. He found the end zone 23 times as a member of the Browns.
He was mostly a great complement to Chubb during his time in Cleveland but is coming off a turbulent down year defined by trade drama. He finished with 468 yards on 123 carries with a per-carry average of 3.8 — the worst of his career. There also were concerns from the Browns that the one-time rushing leader had lost a step, per Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com.
Kareem Hunt Draws Interest From Commanders
Hunt recently received some interest from the Washington Commanders, per Josina Anderson of CBS Sports. But it’s unclear what Hunt’s role would be in Washington. The Commanders have Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson as their top two backs, so there wouldn’t be much work for Hunt unless one of the backs ahead of him got injured.
That being said, Hunt has a link to the Commanders in offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. The two worked together with the Kansas City Chiefs and he saw Hunt lead the league in rushing as a rookie in 2017.
However, a limited-opportunity spot is far from what Hunt had hoped would manifest during his time as a free agent. He was looking for a big contract or, at minimum, more of an opportunity to prove himself so he could cash in next offseason. He’s just 27 years old and could have one solid payday on the horizon if the right opportunity presented itself.
Browns Happy With Jerome Ford Taking on Larger Role
Part of the Browns’ lack of interest in Hunt has to do with Jerome Ford, who is entering his second season in Cleveland. He had just eight carries for 12 yards last season, but the Browns are confident he can take on a larger role with both Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson now out of the picture.
“Jerome’s got a skill set that can allow him to do any and everything,” running backs coach Stump Mitchell said during minicamp. “Pass protection we’ve worked a lot on in the spring, so that was the only thing that we didn’t really have a good handle on because he didn’t do it a lot in college. But he’s worked extremely hard. We know about his skill set with the ball in his hands.”
Adding Hunt might put some added pressure on Ford, and the Browns have been clear they want to see what he can add, especially as a pass catcher.