The Cleveland Browns are dealing with another off-field issue, but this time it does not involve quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Rather it is running back Kareem Hunt, who has not participated in team drills the past two days at practice as his way of showing his displeasure at not receiving a contract extension as he enters the final season of his current deal with the Browns.
Hunt’s position was reported on Saturday by Josina Anderson of CBS Sports in a series of Tweets.
Browns RB Kareem Hunt—currently seeking a contract extension—did not participate in team drills for the second consecutive practice on Saturday. Hunt told the team multiple times recently, his current plan is to participate in individuals drills only. Friday marked the first 1/4— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 6, 2022
Anderson reports that Hunt has told club officials “multiple times” that he will only participate in individual drills, that he has told team members “informally” that he wants a new deal or a trade, Friday was the first time that Hunt did not participate in team drills and his agent has been in Berea this week, which could signal talks with the front office.
The Browns will reportedly fine Hunt for skipping the team drills, according to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, who also reports that the Browns are open to working out a new deal with the veteran, but not until after the upcoming season.
This is the final season of a two-year extension that Hunt signed with the Browns and he made it known during the offseason that he wanted a new deal.
It is hard to argue that Hunt does not have value to the offense, a point that became clearer last season when he missed nine games with injuries. Hunt is a dual threat and the Browns were clearly missing his skills in the passing game when he was out of the lineup last season.
The situation is complicated by the fact that running back Nick Chubb is the clear No. 1 back and already signed his extension. Running back D’Ernest Johnson showed his value as an insurance policy last season when called upon while Hunt and Chubb were out of the lineup, and Cleveland just selected running back Jerome Ford in this year’s draft.
Add that all up, and the Browns may have more leverage in this situation than Hunt.
In three seasons with the Browns, Hunt has rushed for 1,406 yards and 13 touchdowns, while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. He has added 97 receptions for 763 yards and six touchdowns.