NFL trade rumors for Cleveland Browns’ Kareem Hunt increase as touches decrease

Home » NFL trade rumors for Cleveland Browns’ Kareem Hunt increase as touches decrease
NFL trade rumors for Cleveland Browns’ Kareem Hunt increase as touches decrease


Kareem Hunt made minor waves during training camp when trade demands he made to the Browns were made public. The running back and the team, though, moved past the brief dispute with the thought he could earn the new contract he desired through a big season.

As the Browns get ready to play host to Cincinnati on Monday night, less than 24 hours before the NFL trade deadline, Hunt is back in the rumor mill as a potential trade piece. A fourth-round pick is believed to be the starting point in terms of a return for the Browns should they elect to deal the running back before 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The path from those training-camp frustrations to being a potential trade-deadline target follows a season for Hunt which, in some ways, mirrors the Browns’ overall season. What started out well has devolved the last couple of weeks into disappointment.

The idea of a big season for Hunt seemed quite possible after the season-opening win at Carolina. Playing 56% of the Browns’ 80 offensive snaps that day, including a handful at the same time as fellow back Nick Chubb, Hunt ran for 46 yards and had another 24 receiving yards, plus a pair of touchdowns.

Hunt and Chubb provided the Browns arguably as good a one-two rushing punch as there was in the league. Chubb was the figurative Batman and Hunt, coming off the bench, was the perfect Robin.

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) dives for extra yardage against Baltimore Ravens cornerback Damarion Williams (22) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

“Oh yeah, I most definitely feel the same,” Hunt said the week after the opener. “Seeing Chubb start off the game real strong and stuff, I can’t wait to get out there and give him a break and bring the same intensity and physicality.”

While Hunt never saw that percentage of snaps after the Panthers game, the next four games did see his involvement in the offense stay at a steady pace. He played between 31 and 36 snaps a game those four games − which accounted for between 44% and 49% of the team’s offensive snaps − while averaging 11.5 rushing attempts and between two to four targets a game.

The last two weeks, though, Hunt’s touches have noticeably decreased. He’s carried the ball a combined nine times against New England and Baltimore for 16 net yards, plus one 4-yard catch on three total targets.

There’s some context, though, around those numbers. The Patriots game saw the Browns almost completely abandon the run game, with just 18 total rushing attempts for the game.

“I really don’t know,” Hunt said immediately after the New England game. “I know we could’ve still found a way to run the ball. But it’s all good.”

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) runs the ball against Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton during the first half of a NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) runs the ball against Baltimore Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton during the first half of a NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

The Browns didn’t completely abandon the run game against the Ravens, with 24 rushing attempts out of their 56 total offensive plays. However, they did go through a stretch from just over 10 minutes left in the second quarter until midway through the third quarter in which they did not attempt a single running play.

The Browns did get back to running the football after that stretch, which saw them go from up 10-3 to down 20-10. That, capped by a 2-yard Hunt touchdown run, helped them get within 23-20 with nine minutes remaining.

“It works when we do it,” Hunt said immediately after the Ravens game. “Sometimes it might be a little slow, but it ain’t going to be all day. So gotta keep working through it.”

Hunt was involved during that stretch, albeit in the passing game. He had a 4-yard reception on third-and-20 from midfield with 43 seconds left in the first half, while having been targeted earlier in the drive on a second-and-2 play from the Browns 45.

Running the ball, Hunt finished with four net yards on five carries. He also had the one score.

“The run opportunities he had were not blocked correctly,” coach Kevin Stefanski said on Monday. “To Baltimore’s credit, they did a nice job so that is not on Kareem. He is playing hard like he always does. Opportunities didn’t come up necessarily, but he did a nice job on his plays and scored for us late. He will continue to do things that help us win.”

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) scores a touchdown as Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark (36) defends in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt (27) scores a touchdown as Baltimore Ravens safety Chuck Clark (36) defends in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Hunt’s day in Baltimore was summed up on his first two carries. Both times, with the Browns backed up inside their 10, he was unable to get going because Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen was literally in his face when the took the handoff.

Those first two carries went for a combined minus-9 yards. Hunt’s last three carries went for a combined 13 yards, including the touchdown.

“We had the one drive where we were backed up, and Patrick Queen ran through a couple of times and made some plays,” left guard Joel Bitonio said earlier this week. “I think that really threw us off. … He made a couple of good plays on that, and that threw us behind.”

Contact Chris at ceasterling@thebeaconjournal.com.

On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Kareem Hunt trade rumors increase as touches decrease for Browns back

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