Browns RB Kareem Hunt Sends Strong Message on Trade Rumors

Kareem Hunt

Getty Images Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns.

With the Cleveland Browns struggling at 2-5, trade rumors have started to swirl around running back Kareem Hunt.

Hunt is one of the more logical trade pieces for the Browns to move, considering he’s in the final year of his contract and has a proven track record as a productive runner.

Hunt spoke to reporters on Saturday ahead of a crucial matchup with the Bengals and said he hasn’t had any conversations with the Browns’ brass about a deal.

“I don’t talk to them about that stuff, man,” Hunt said. “I just show up to work. Work for my boys, show up, chop it up with the guys. Push them.

“I mean, it is what it is. It’s a business. I just go out there and show up and play, man.”

Hunt asked for a trade prior to the season starting, which was a strategic move by the running back as he looked for a new, long-term contract to stay in Cleveland. With the Browns anticipating to be in the playoff mix, they saw Hunt as a key piece of the offense and were not willing to grant his request.

But now facing a potential 2-6 hole, the Browns could decide to move Hunt and start the process of building up their draft pick arsenal, which was depleted after the trade for Deshaun Watson.

The reported value Hunt could bring back is a fourth-round pick, which isn’t a huge score but would mean more for the team’s future than simply keeping him around and watching him walk away as a free agent next offseason.

“I mean it’ll be, mixed emotions, for sure,” Hunt said, “but they’ll know I gave it my all here in Cleveland and that’s what I’ll always and continue to do.”

Hunt Has Proven Potential as Lead Back

Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie in 2017 with the Chiefs and has more than 5,150 yards from scrimmage and 44 touchdowns to his name over a five-year NFL career.

He’s dealt with injuries during his time with the Browns, most notably last season with calf and ankle issues, which limited him to eight games. He notched 386 yards and five touchdowns in 2021, adding 22 receptions for 174 yards.

However, the main issue for Hunt in Cleveland is that as long as he’s a member of the Browns, he will sit behind Chubb on the depth chart. Chubb has emerged as one of the best backs in the NFL, eclipsing more than 1,000 yards the last three seasons with an average better than 5 yards per carry. He signed a three-year, $36 million extension last season, keeping him in Cleveland through the 2024 season and currently leads the league in rushing.

Hunt’s production has waned in recent weeks, notching just nine carries and one catch over the last two weeks.

“No reason. Expect him to help us and contribute this game,” Browns coach and offensive play-called Kevin Stefanski said. “Sometimes you get unlucky a little bit. He got unlucky with some really bad runs, quite honestly, but I wouldn’t read too much into that.”

Insider: Hunt Would Welcome Opportunity With Contender

Hunt made sure to note that if a team trades for him, they’re getting “a hell of a player.” While he’s expressed an interest to remain with his hometown Browns in the past, Browns insider gets the feel that Hunt would be open to a fresh start somewhere else.

“Kareem was very matter of fact about it. He is up for whatever happens. All he wants to do is win. I asked him if it’s hard to say happy though the turmoil, and he said it kinda is right now,” Cabot said. “I think he would actually welcome an opportunity, if he could get it, contend for the rest of the season. We’ll see what happens.”

The Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo Bills have been pegged as teams who could have an interest in Hunt’s services.

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