Trade Proposal Deals Kareem Hunt from Browns to LA Rams

Kareem Hunt, Browns


Running back Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns leaves the field after a preseason game against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns could soon learn that too much of a good thing can quickly become bad.

That’s not to say that running back Kareem Hunt or any other member of the Browns’ offensive backfield will hurt the team by wearing the orange and brown. But too much redundancy in an NFL roster is counterproductive and often the opposite of cost-effective.

Starter Nick Chubb earns more than $12 million annually in a position that is increasingly being devalued across the league from an investment perspective. Breakout rusher D’Ernest Johnson just negotiated one new business in Cleveland around the same time, the franchise decided to use design capital Jerome Ford in the form of a fifth-round pick. Additionally, it’s all but certain that running back Demetric Felton will remain on the roster as the team’s No. 1 returnee following an injury to recently acquired Jakeem Grant at the end of the season.

All of this begs the question: if you’re the Browns, why are you paying Hunt? $6.25 million when he has already made it painfully clear that he wants a trade or a new contract anyway? That money could be invested elsewhere in the roster, perhaps in a weak defensive line or a wide receiver position group that lacks both experience and depth. Not to mention that RB will likely walk out the door after the season as the Browns turned down Hunt’s requests. At this time, Cleveland is not receiving any consideration for the asset.

Logic dictates that the Browns will at least consider trading Hunt for a mid-round pick if they can find the right deal. Additionally, the market for Hunt should be there, especially in the form of the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams or the struggling Atlanta Falcons.

Hunt offers Brown’s trade value as the NFL’s starting-level running back

GettyCleveland Browns running backs Kareem Hunt (right) and Nick Chubb (left).

One reason to keep Hunt is that the Browns have arguably the best rushing tandem in the NFL if he’s healthy and has teamed with Chubb. That could prove incredibly valuable if backup QB Jacoby Brissett struggles to replace Deshaun Watson while he’s serving an 11-game suspension earlier in the season.

On the other hand, Hunt’s value versus his potential successors at Johnson and Ford may not stand up to the scrutiny of a production/cost analysis given that Hunt will earn about $5 million more than Johnson and about $5.25 million more than Ford in 2022 becomes.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report on Wednesday, September 7, made the case for moving Hunt to either the Rams or the Falcons sometime earlier this season.

Hunt has proven to be a high-end dual threat running back, and he would be a starter on most teams. Cleveland is also loaded at the location. … If it becomes clear the Browns won’t be able to compete in 2022, they might be more inclined to part ways with the 2023 free agent.

Virtually any team without an established starter could benefit from acquiring Hunt. The Falcons are a great example. … The Los Angeles Rams would be another logical place to land. They have a stunning backfield duo in Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. Neither has proven to be a high-end starter and both are coming off injury-plagued campaigns.

Johnson could serve as the Browns’ trading chip in place of Hunt

D'Ernest Johnson

Getty ImagesCleveland Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson could also end up on the trading bloc in 2022.

Knox went on to say that Johnson could end up on the trading bloc in place of Hunt, but that would really only make sense if the Browns made a long-term commitment to Hunt.

Johnson only has a one-year contract and will have less money than Hunt as a free agent in 2023, regardless of almost any foreseeable on-field circumstances that might unfold that year. Trading Johnson without suspending Hunt for several years in the future would risk losing both before the start of next season.

Depending on Ford’s progression and the continued consistency of Chubb, who is only entering his fifth season in the NFL after earning trips to three straight Pro Bowls, the Browns could be in a position to draw from both Hunt and Johnson to separate.

In the short term, however, Hunt appears to be the more likely commercial candidate barring an injury to Chubb or a campaign marked by massive results — like the ones Hunt produced during his rookie season In 2017 with the Kansas City Chiefs when he led the NFL in rushing and was named a second-team All Pro. Trade Proposal Deals Kareem Hunt from Browns to LA Rams

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