4 potential landing spots for the Pro Bowl running back

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns have had a lot to do this offseason. Kareem Hunt added one more element to the itinerary. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Hunt asked for a tradeand the team responded by letting the Pro Bowl running back know they would not trade him.

The thing is, Hunt is in the final year of his contract and is definitely looking for a bigger salary. Of course, the Browns were the team to take a chance on the Ohio native after a video of him physically assaulting a woman emerged in 2018, resulting in his release from the Kansas City Chiefs.

Hunt has since spent the past three seasons in Cleveland, spelling Nick Chubb. As a rookie, Hunt led the NFL in rushing yards with 1,327 on 272 carries, giving us a taste of what he’s capable of. He hasn’t topped 198 runs in a season since, but that’s the product of being stuck behind Chubb. His yards per carry (4.9) last year were the same as his brilliant rookie season. He didn’t lose it.

At his best, Hunt is capable of being a starting running back, but he has no chance of making it with the Browns. He probably either wants a bigger salary or an opportunity to land with a team in a starting role. Yet none of these goals can be achieved this season.

The Browns may not want to trade Hunt, but they have plenty of talent in the backfield. If a team presents a strong enough offer, the return of the Pro Bowl could well be traded. Here are four potential trade ideas that work for both Hunt and the Browns.

Related; Kareem Hunt latest NFL holdout, Cleveland Browns shouldn’t play ball

Atlanta Falcons get new starting running back

NFL: Cleveland Browns vs. Atlanta Falcons
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  • Falcons trade: Sixth-round pick Deion Jones
  • Brown Trade: Kareem Hunt

The Atlanta Falcons struck gold by using Cordarrelle Patterson more as a running back, taking advantage of his ability to run and catch the ball out of the backfield. But its ceiling is limited. He hasn’t played that position in so long, and he may be better in a split backfield, much like where Hunt is now.

Having a more polished back like Hunt could do wonders for the Falcons offense. They had the second-fewest rushing yards and fifth-fewest rushing touchdowns a season ago. It needs to get better, but all they did was add Damien Williams and fifth-round rookie Tyler Allgeier this offseason. Hunt would likely take over the starting role, but Patterson’s touches shouldn’t have to drop much.

In fact, Patterson might even be more useful by focusing more on being a passer for a team without Calvin Ridley this season. Adding Hunt would be a big boost for Marcus Mariota, giving the offense another threat to go along with Kyle Pitts for defenses to worry about.

Deion Jones has been a shell of himself the past few seasons and the Browns could use more competition at linebacker. Especially if it’s possible to add a former Pro Bowl talent. Can he become one of the best linebackers in football again in a new situation?

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Philadelphia Eagles bring in Kareem Hunt

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns
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The Philadelphia Eagles had the best rushing offense last year, leading the league in yards and touchdowns. But their main rusher was actually quarterback Jalen Hurts. That means they’re likely ready to repeat with a quick offense no matter who’s in the backfield.

You’d think Miles Sanders would have a bigger role, but he’s just had career lows in racing. The Eagles may not be 100% committed to Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell as point guards. Perhaps if a scenario to acquire a player such as Hunt appeared, general manager Howie Roseman would swing for the fences again.

It’s possible that Sanders or Gainwell will then be sent elsewhere, included in the Hunt trade, or retained to form a three-headed monster (four with Hurts).

Gardner Minshew could be seen as slightly expendable as he enters the final year of his contract and, depending on Deshaun Watson’s call, may have a greater need to add to the QB room. Minshew would be a good one-year stopgap, whether to get ahead of Jacoby Brissett or not wouldn’t necessarily matter right away. The thing is, they would have another capable starter if this team had a chance of making the playoffs, and Minshew might be their best bet.

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Detroit Lions snag Hunt

NFL: Cleveland Browns vs Los Angeles Chargers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Lion Exchange: Fourth Round Pick
  • Brown Trade: Kareem Hunt

The Detroit Lions aim to have a kickass offense this season after scoring just 19.1 points per game in 2021 (25th in the NFL). Their wide receiver group should be significantly improved. But the same group of running backs returns. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. D’Andre Swift is a former first-round pick, and Godwin Igwebuike has held off many NFL watchers in limited action.

Although if they wanted to add a more proven playmaker, erasing another question mark before the 2022 season, trading for Hunt would be their best option. If Hunt is available, the Lions should be aggressive in trade negotiations. He could be their short-term future at the position while significantly upping the offense to help them surprise a lot of people this season.

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Los Angeles Chargers strengthen their backfield

NFL: Cleveland Browns vs Los Angeles Chargers
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  • Chargers trade: 2024 third-round pick, 2023 seventh-round pick.
  • Brown Trade: Kareem Hunt

We know the Los Angeles Chargers are going there this year. They added several impact defenders, tackling the team’s weakest points by adding to the trenches as well. Why not recreate the two-headed Pro Bowl backfield in Los Angeles by adding Hunt to an Austin Ekeler-dominated backfield? While the offensive line didn’t help, Ekeler, as a runner, leaves a little extra distance on the turf.

Hunt can help spell Ekeler, allowing the latter to do most of his work where he is at his best, which is catching passes out of the backfield. Perhaps having another talented full-back to help carry the load could make Ekeler a more effective player when he’s out there.

With the Chargers sparing no expense with their roster, why not go out of their way to add more guns that Justin Herbert could work with? Making the AFC West playoffs won’t be easy, so they can’t afford to pass up opportunities such as a Hunt trade.

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