There was some question as to whether or not the Cleveland Browns would move forward working with pending restricted free agent running back Kareem Hunt, whom the team signed to a one-year contract in 2019, despite knowing that he would be imminently facing a long suspension.
He ultimately served an eight-game suspension and returned to play the second half of the season as the number two running back behind Nick Chubb, who earned a Pro Bowl nod for his performance during the year. Hunt was a Pro Bowler himself as a rookie in 2017 before a viral video of himself pushing and kicking a woman was released, which prompted the Kansas City Chiefs to release him in the middle of the 2018 season.
He has gone through additional legal trouble since then, as well, which seemed to have put his future with the team back on a slippery slope. They had already spoken last offseason of how his contract nor his spot on the roster was guaranteed, yet they still chose to stick by him through other obstacles.
From the sounds of it, their intention is to continue to do so, despite earlier words of caution, as general manager Andrew Berry has said that the team intends to place some level of restricted free agent tender on him.
As a former third-round pick, there would not be much difference between tagging him at the original-round level or the second-round level. If a team were interested in him, I’m not sure the difference between a second-round pick and a third-round pick would be enough to dissuade them from attempting to sign him.
After returning from suspension last season, Hunt carried the ball only 43 times, gaining 179 yards and scoring two touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. He did catch 37 passes for 285 yards, adding one more touchdown. The Browns used a package with both running backs on the field, during which Hunt was occasionally asked to block.
During his first two seasons, over 27 games, he rushed for 2151 yards on 453 carries, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt and scoring 15 touchdowns. He also caught 79 passes for 833 yards, averaging 10.5 yards per reception, with another 10 touchdowns. He scored 25 total offensive touchdowns in his first 27 games. He scored 14 touchdowns in 11 games for the Chiefs in 2018 before his release.