Browns Reveal Plans on Potential Trade For RB Kareem Hunt

Getty Browns running back Kareem Hunt.

The Cleveland Browns have a crowded running back room and speculation has been rampant over the last month or so about what the team might do to address that.

One move the team is not planning, despite some educated speculation in recent weeks, is a trade that would send away former Pro-Bowl running back Kareem Hunt.

Mary Kay Cabot of reported on Sunday, May 29, that the franchise has no plans to trade Hunt, despite the running back entering into the final year of his contract in 2022.

Even with the surplus of running backs on the roster, Kareem Hunt is still very much in the Browns plans for this season. Heading into the final year of his contract at a maximum of $6.25 million, Hunt is viewed as a valuable member of the offense.

The Browns and Hunt haven’t engaged in substantive extension talks, but he’s not in jeopardy of being the odd man out. During OTAs on Wednesday, Hunt and Nick Chubb appeared on the field together on several occasions, and the offense could feature them together more this season.

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Browns RB D’Ernest Johnson May Weigh Heavily Into Hunt’s Future

Getty ImagesRunning back D’Ernest Johnson of the Cleveland Browns had a breakout season in 2022. 

The Browns boast an embarrassment of riches in their offensive backfield, which has allowed for even the possibility of moving on from Hunt prior to the upcoming regular season.

Hunt is only 26 years old and has played just five years in the league. He led the NFL in rushing yards his rookie season with 1,327 as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs and is a legitimate dual threat back with 28 rushing touchdowns and 16 receiving touchdowns across appearances in 59 regular season games, per Pro Football Reference.

Arguably the best second option in the entire league behind Chubb and still in the heart of his prime, Hunt is backed up on the roster by D’Ernest Johnson who had something of a breakout year in 2021. Johnson earned two starts and 100 carries during his third NFL campaign and proved out, amassing 534 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to go along with 19 receptions for 137 receiving yards.

The Browns tendered an offer of $2.4 million to Johnson for next season, which is more than he made during his first three years combined. However, the running back has yet to sign the deal, which means he could be attempting to negotiate a longer-term contract at a higher annual salary. His decision to switch representation and hire super agent Drew Rosenhaus is evidence that points toward that theory, though falls short of confirming it.

Johnson showed up to voluntary OTAs last week, despite not technically being under contract, which is reason for optimism as far as the running back’s relationship with the team is concerned.

If Cleveland does decide to offer Johnson a multiyear deal and/or make him a more prominently featured player in the offense, it might open the team up to trading Hunt. That move would take more than $6 million off of the cap sheet and likely bring back at least a quality draft pick, considering that Hunt is more than qualified to assume a starting role for several other teams in the NFL.

Browns Added to Talented Backfield During 2022 NFL Draft

Nick Chubb

GettyRunning back Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns warms up before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

On the other hand, it could be Johnson on the trading block should the Browns decide to part ways with a running back.

The team made a surprise move in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft when they selected Jerome Ford out of the University of Cincinnati. ESPN’s Jake Trotter speculated that the Browns’ decision on draft weekend might mean the end of a running back’s tenure in Cleveland. The most likely candidate, Trotter said, is Johnson.

Despite having Pro Bowler Nick Chubb, former NFL rushing champ Kareem Hunt and 2021 breakout contributor D’Ernest Johnson all under contract in the backfield, the Browns added yet another running back in Ford.

Even as a heavy running team, Cleveland’s backfield is crowded, with 2021 sixth-round pick Demetric Felton also in the rotation. It’s difficult to see the Browns rolling into the season with this many backs. Johnson, who is looking for a multiyear contract after he was unable to get an offer sheet this offseason, could be the one to watch here.

In any case, it does not appear Hunt is headed anywhere else this season, whether Johnson is or not. What the Browns ultimately decide to do in their offensive backfield ahead of 2023, however, may prove an entirely different story.

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Matt Kuntz
Matt Kuntz
9 months ago

That might be the most idiotic comment I have ever seen on here, or any other site for that matter. The trade possibility is “for” their own running back “Kareem” Abdul, wait I mean Hunt, not the deceased former owner of the Chiefs, or the 7’0″ former Lakers, and Bucks great, Jabbar! and it was a possible trade involving their RB Kareem Hunt. So the grammar is correct, since any trade involving him, would be “for” Kareem! It is in our own made up vernacular that we have created that any team that trades “for” someone must be getting them, as opposed to them leaving, but since he would be going to any other team in the league other than the poopstains, the trade would technically be “for”him! How about that for grammar, ask Lamar Hunt for any correction, or do they all just look the same to you?

Mike Brubaker
Mike Brubaker
9 months ago

Why would Cleveland trade for Lamar Hunt, they already have him. Perhaps some of your amateur writers could use a few English and grammar lessons.

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