The Cleveland Browns signed running back Kareem Hunt to a one-year contract this past week knowing that he will be facing a suspension to start the 2019 season.
Just how long it will be until Hunt takes the field for the Browns remains a major unknown, however.
Hunt is currently on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, which means he is prohibited from practicing, playing or attending games for the Browns while the league conducts an investigation. That is not a problem at the moment, obviously, but will become an issue as the team moves through the off-season.
In January, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the “belief” is that the league will conclude its investigation into Hunt’s off-field incidents before free agency begins on March 13. Once the NFL finishes up, the league will likely announce the length of Hunt’s looming suspension.
So how long will that be? ESPN’s Dan Graziano was on Cleveland radio station 92.3 The Fan on Friday with some speculation:
.@DanGrazianoESPN on @BullandFox re: future of #Browns RB Kareem Hunt: "What the suspension ends up being, I can't say. I think it'll be lengthy. I'd be surprised, for instance, if Kareem Hunt played for the Browns before November."— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) February 15, 2019
If Hunt’s suspension carries into November, then he would likely miss at least eight games, which falls in line with the NFL’s policies, which call for a minimum suspension of six games for a first-time offense involving assault, according to The Sporting News.
The Browns signed Hunt knowing that there were still some unanswered questions about his immediate future in the NFL. If the media reports are correct, one of the biggest questions may be answered in the coming weeks.