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Kareem Hunt requests trade: 4 potential landing spots for the Pro Bowl running back

Andrew Buller-Russ
Kareem Hunt
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns have been dealing with a lot this offseason. Kareem Hunt has added one more item to the itinerary. According to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, Hunt has requested a trade, and the team has responded by letting the Pro Bowl running back know they won’t be trading him.

The thing is, Hunt is on the final year of his contract, and is assuredly seeking a bigger payday. Of course the Browns were the team to take a chance on the Ohio native after video surfaced of him physically assaulting a woman in 2018, which resulted in him being released from the Kansas City Chiefs.

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

At his best, Hunt is capable of being a starting running back, but he has no shot to do so with the Browns. He likely either wants a bigger paycheck or an opportunity to land with a team in a starting role. Yet, neither of these goals may get accomplished this season.

The Browns may not want to trade Hunt, but they are flush with talent in the backfield. If a team presents a strong enough offer, the Pro Bowl back just might be traded. Here are four potential trade ideas that work out for both Hunt and the Browns.

Related; Kareem Hunt latest NFL hold-in, Cleveland Browns not expected to play ball

Atlanta Falcons get a new starting running back

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
  • Falcons trade: Sixth-round pick, Deion Jones
  • Browns trade: Kareem Hunt

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

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

In fact, Patterson might even be more useful focusing on being more of a pass-catcher 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 his former self 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 return to being one of the better coverage linebackers in football in a new situation?

Philadelphia Eagles bring in Kareem Hunt

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles had the best rushing offense last year, leading the league in both yards and touchdowns. But their leading rusher was actually quarterback Jalen Hurts. This means they’re likely set to repeat with a top rushing attack, no matter who’s in the backfield.

You’d think Miles Sanders would have a bigger role, but he’s coming off career lows in carries. The Eagles may not be 100% committed to Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell as the lead backs. Perhaps if a scenario to acquire a player such as Hunt popped up, general manager Howie Roseman would once again swing for the fences.

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

Gardner Minshew could be seen as mildly expendable in that he’s entering the final year of his contract, and depending on the Deshaun Watson appeal, could have a bigger need to add to the QB room. Minshew would be a fine one-year stopgap, whether it’s to slot ahead of Jacoby Brissett or not wouldn’t necessarily matter right away. The point is, they’d have another capable starter if this team has a shot at the playoffs and Minshew might be their best option.

Related: Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2023 winner

Detroit Lions scoop up Hunt

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Lions trade: Fourth-round pick
  • Browns 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 NFL). Their group of wide receivers should be drastically improved. But the same group of running backs return. That may not be a bad thing. D’Andre Swift is a former first-round selection, and Godwin Igwebuike stuck out to many NFL observers in limited action.

Though if they wanted to add a more proven playmaker, erasing one more question mark ahead of the 2022 season, trading for Hunt would be their best option. If Hunt’s available, the Lions should be aggressive in trade talks. He could be their short-term future at the position while elevating the offense in a big way to help them surprise a lot of people this season.

Related: Best storylines for 2022 Hard Knocks Detroit Lions edition

Los Angeles Chargers add to their backfield

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Chargers trade: 2024 third-round pick, 2023 seventh-round pick.
  • Browns trade: Kareem Hunt

We know the Los Angeles Chargers are going for it this year. They’ve added several impact defenders, addressing the weakest spots on the team by also adding to the trenches. Why not recreate the two-headed Pro Bowl backfield in LA by adding Hunt to a backfield dominated by Austin Ekeler? While the offensive line didn’t help, Ekeler, as a runner leaves a bit of extra yardage on the turf.

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

With the Chargers not sparing any expenses with their roster, why not do everything possible to add more weapons for Justin Herbert to work with? Making the playoffs in the AFC West won’t be easy, so they can’t afford to let opportunities such as a Hunt trade pass them by.

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