Saturday, August 6, 2022

Proposed merchant ship Browns RB at NFC Powerhouse for selection

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The Cleveland Browns have plenty of wealth at the running back position, which could make Kareem Hunt a valuable trade as the season nears.

One team that emerged as contenders for Hunt was the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, who have some capable backers in Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson Jr. but would certainly welcome the former Rushing leader for a bigger role.

Hunt was mentioned by Bleacher Report in a number of trades that make “meaningful” in the season. The Rams would pick Hunt and the Browns would pick a third-round pick in exchange for their backup running back. Here’s what B/R had to say about the potential deal.

Also notable is the $9.7 million cap space the Rams have at their disposal. They would be able to accommodate Hunt and his $6.3 million cap hit and would add another layer to their explosive offense.

While Hunt has proven to be a deadly pair with Nick Chubb. However, there are questions about his long-term future at Cleveland that could prompt the Browns to trade him this season and get some consideration.

His recent injury history could worry the Browns. He suffered calf and ankle injuries last year and missed nine games.

“It’s been tough,” Hunt told Cleveland.com this offseason. “Last year was really tough for me not being able to go out and compete every week, which I love to do. I’m not really used to missing games with injuries so it was tough. I have to go to rehab and I’m coming out of it.

But the former NFL rushing leader has great potential when he’s healthy, with more than 5,150 yards from scrimmage and 44 touchdowns in his five-year NFL career. So as long as he stays on the field, he can be a force.

While Hunt isn’t the lead back with the Browns, he is comfortable with his role with his hometown squad and was aware that he wanted to stay long-term.

“I really don’t know what to think right now,” Hunt said on June 17. “I’m just trying to go out there and show them I’m healthy, show them I’m willing to work for them as long as they want, so I’d like to stay here for a long time.”

It all depends on how much the Browns want to invest in the future, as Chubb has already signed a hefty deal through 2024. And there’s also the thought that the Browns could get a similar performance from a cheaper back in D’Ernest Johnson. With Hunt and Chubb on the shelf, Johnson started two games last season and finished the season for 534 yards on 100 carries and three touchdowns.

Cap rank won’t be an issue for the Browns this season as the team still has an NFL-high of $48.4 million. But over the long term — with deals for Deshaun Watson, Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and others on the books — Cleveland may not be able to match what other teams are offering Hunt once he becomes a free agent.

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