Free agent running back Kareem Hunt, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, is re-signing with the Cleveland Browns on a one-year deal worth up to $4 million, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero on September 20.
Though the team has expressed confidence in second-year back Jerome Ford, the only other back on the Browns’ active roster is Pierre Strong Jr., who the Browns traded with the New England Patriots for during the preseason.
Hunt, 28, was with Cleveland for the last four seasons. He took to free agency this offseason once his contract expired with the team, and has remained unsigned up until this point. Hunt did have several visits with a number of other NFL teams earlier this year, though.
Kareem Hunt Part of Struggling RB Market
Kareem Hunt was drafted by the Chiefs in the third round in 2017. He played two seasons for Kansas City, which included a rookie season in which he accumulated 1,327 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns and was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
On December 3, 2018, the Chiefs released Hunt after Hunt lied to the team about a physical altercation between him and a then-19-year-old girl at a Cleveland hotel that took place in February of that year. Hunt was released in the wake of a video of the altercation going public.
Hunt sat out for the entirety of the following season and then signed with the Browns on February 17, 2019. As a 1-2 punch alongside Nick Chubb, Hunt recorded 442 rushing attempts for 1,874 rushing yards — 4.2 yards per carry — and 31 rushing touchdowns along with 973 yards through the air on 132 receptions and had 7 receiving touchdowns during his four seasons in Cleveland, according to Pro Football Reference.
Hunt played in all 17 regular season games during the 2022 season for the Browns and registered 123 rushing attempts for 468 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns along with 35 receptions for another 210 yards and 1 receiving touchdown.
Unfortunately, Hunt, who was one of the better running backs still available in free agency, is the byproduct of an overall unsuccessful offseason for NFL running backs financially.
Now-Carolina Panthers running back Miles Sanders was the only free agent back this offseason to get a multi-year deal that exceeded $20 million in total value. The top free agent backs — Josh Jacobs, Jonathan Taylor, Tony Pollard, and Saquon Barkley — were all franchise tagged by their respective teams. Other established veterans such as Hunt and Ezekiel Elliott had to wait until the season began to strike a deal with a team.
Despite productive running backs still being very valuable to NFL offenses, teams are unwilling to pay tenured backs in the league. Instead, many teams are opting to draft running backs, utilize them while they are on their rookie contract, and then let them walk once their rookie deal expires. Rinse, repeat.
Twitter Reacts to Kareem Hunt Re-Signing With Browns
Users on Twitter — which was recently rebranded to X — reacted to Kareem Hunt re-signing with the Browns.
“It was pretty obvious this was happening which I why I picked him up last week in Fantasy. He wasn’t going anywhere,” one user wrote.
“Makes sense for depth but not worried about Jerome Ford’s role Browns released him in offseason because they were worried about him “losing speed” after career low YPC, while also liking Ford enough to give him the back-up role without even playing 1 preseason snap,” Austin Zhu of DraftKings wrote.