One of the many things that didn’t go well for the Cleveland Browns in 2022 was the play of RB Kareem Hunt. Hunt had a unique season overall starting with his request for an extension or to be traded during training camp. After sitting out drills for one day, Hunt returned to practice and never got what he wanted.
There was thought that the backup running back would get his wish at the trade deadline but the Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Halloween night and didn’t trade off Hunt the next day.
In the end, the 2022 season was one of the worst for Hunt. While his overall stats were better than 2019 and 2021, those two seasons were cut in half by suspension and injury, respectively. Last year, Hunt averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per carry and 6.0 yards per reception despite getting 123 rushes and 44 targets.
Some more interesting data on how bad the fall-off was for Hunt last year:
Kareem Hunt ranks in missed tackles forced and yards after contact per carry (PFF)— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) February 20, 2023
2017: 4th, 13th
2018: 4th, 11th
2019: 1st, 41st
2020: 28th, 14th
2021: 3rd, 12th
2022: 40th, 38th
Hunt had the 38th most carries by a running back in the NFL while starter Nick Chubb was third in the league. As a team, Cleveland was fifth in the league in rushing attempts, just 27 total behind the league-leading Atlanta Falcons.
With only one of the top five teams in rushing attempts making the playoffs, the Browns are likely to throw the ball even more in 2023. With Hunt’s decline, desire to leave the team in 2022 and limited salary cap space, his departure is all but certain.
Much like Jarvis Landry last offseason, Hunt might find it difficult to find a quality contract coming off a poor season. Instead, again like Landry, a one-year deal with incentives is likely.
Turning 28 in August, the former Toledo back has just under 900 carries (895) for his career. As a soon-to-be former Cleveland Brown, it will be interesting to see if 2022 was an aberration or if Hunt’s career is on a downward trajectory.