Earlier this month, Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt stunned the team and its fans when he requested a trade.
There is no indication the Browns are willing to grant him his wish as of now.
Fans and observers seem split on whether the team should trade him, as it has some capable backup tailbacks behind him and Nick Chubb.
However, trading Hunt at this point would likely weaken the Browns at a time when they should not be making any major moves that would break up their core.
With Deshaun Watson Out, The Browns Need To Lean On Their Core
Last week, Cleveland finally got some certainty on the Deshaun Watson front, as his final discipline was handed out.
He will be suspended for the first 11 games of the regular season, putting the team’s chances of returning to the NFL playoffs in serious jeopardy.
While Watson is out, the Browns will be in an all-hands-on-deck situation, especially on the offensive side of the football.
If anything, they will need to win ugly by leaning on their defense and running game, as backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett isn’t exactly a dynamic passer.
In Chubb and Hunt, Cleveland has perhaps the league’s most dynamic and profilic running back duo around.
Chubb has passed the 1,000-yard mark in each of the last three seasons, and some fans are convinced he is poised for a historic run this season.
But Hunt’s abilities have made Chubb’s job easier the last few years.
Hunt Is Someone Opposing Defenses Need To Be Concerned About
In the 2017 NFL Draft, Hunt wasn’t selected until the third round, when the Kansas City Chiefs took him with the 86th overall pick.
He was a rookie sensation, leading the league in rushing yards with 1,327 of them while scoring eight touchdowns and finishing second in the balloting for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Hunt made a name for himself with his ability to explode through the pile and add extra yardage after evading multiple defenders.
— 𝕃𝕠𝕣𝕕ℂ𝕙𝕚𝕖𝕗ℝ𝕠𝕔𝕜𝕒 (@JordanTribe_) August 22, 2022
But his fortunes declined the following season when a video of him physically assaulting a woman was revealed, and although he was never charged, Kansas City released him late in the season.
After joining the Browns for the 2019 campaign, Hunt was suspended for the first eight games of the schedule.
But after he returned, he showed he could help them with their running attack.
That ability became especially evident in 2020, as he put up 841 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns, 304 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns.
With Hunt’s help, the Browns made the playoffs and won their first postseason contest since the 1994 season.
It has been a homecoming for him, as he grew up in the Cleveland area.
— Tyler Johnson (@T_johnson_TJ) September 28, 2021
Hunt Is Also Great Insurance
As great as Chubb is, he may be a little injury-prone, as he has missed seven games over the past two seasons.
If Hunt is traded, and Chubb gets injured while Watson is out, the Browns would be in deep, deep trouble.
Hunt has one season left on his contract, and Cleveland may be reluctant to give him a contract extension, but at the very least, it should wait a while if it is to send him elsewhere, as it will need him for a good part of this season.