Cleveland Browns Running Back Kareem Hunt requested a trade yesterday, according to Mary Kay Cabot. The former Pro Bowl back is openly seeking a contract extension, but the Browns have thus far refused both the extension and trade requests.
Consequently, Hunt refused to participate in elements of practice despite reporting to training camp. Without any meaningful movement in negotiations, Hunt chose to ask his team for a trade.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 7, 2022
Now—with news that Cleveland rejected Hunt’s trade request—here’s a look at where things stand, how we got here and where Cleveland and their star halfback go from here.
“Holding-In” and Requesting a trade
Kareem Hunt signed a two-year, 13.25 million dollar deal back in September of 2020 to keep him with the Browns. Now in the second year of that deal—with no guaranteed years ahead of him—Hunt is asking for a significant raise.
The Browns have been steadfast in their resistance to such a deal. Even as rumors swirled that Hunt might want out, the Browns entered training camp without having offered Hunt a palatable deal.
Despite reporting to camp, Hunt chose not to participate in team drills hoping to gain leverage.
Hunt is not participating in team drills for the second consecutive practice. pic.twitter.com/YIlcUNfvww
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 6, 2022
Return to Practice
Browns’ Head Coach Kevin Stefanski didn’t seem to have much tolerance for this strategy. He spoke to reporters prior to this morning’s practice.
— Brad Stainbrook (@StainbrookNFL) August 7, 2022
Hunt was back on the field today running with teammates and participating in team and individual drills. It remains to be seen whether or not Hunt’s participation is an indicator that negotiations have advanced.
How will the story end?
Even after signing Deshaun Watson to a massive contract extension this offseason, Cleveland still finds itself in one of the healthier cap situations in the league. Should they choose to prioritize him, getting a Hunt contract done is certainly possible. Whether or not the Browns are interested in a financial commitment to Hunt is still up in the air.
Hunt is only 27 years old and with a relatively small workload for a back of his talent and experience. He’s carried the ball only 319 times in his three seasons with the Browns. And given his talent as a receiver out of the backfield—catching 176 passes in five seasons— it’s logical the Browns would want to keep Hunt, and his incredible versatility, in Cleveland.
But can the Browns afford to commit that much money to the running back position? Nick Chubb, the other half of the Browns rushing duo, is on the first year of a three-year extension that will earn him almost 11 million dollars in salary next season.
It seems Cleveland General Manager Andrew Berry will have yet another serious decision to make, after an off-season full of them.
Jamie Arnowich contributed to this report.