Browns running back Kareem Hunt recently requested a trade. With James White announcing his retirement, should the Patriots make a trade for the RB?
News broke last week that Browns running back, Kareem Hunt, had requested a trade from the team.
There has been a lot of drama surrounding the Cleveland team over the last few months and this story just added to it.
The relationship between the team and Hunt seemed fine, as the running back had been seen participating in training camp drills. But then Hunt decided to only practice individual drills, skipping all of the team activities scheduled for the day.
It has been reported that Hunt is seeking a contract extension which explains the reasoning behind his recent request. He is currently on the last year of a two-year, $12 million contract and hoped requesting a trade would help sway the Browns to work with him.
However, despite that neither the team nor Hunt have spoken publicly about the situation, it was also reported that the organization declined his request swiftly and quietly. Hunt would return to practice the following day, missing two days of training camp.
The trade request doesn’t seem to be out of the blue, though. Hunt has seen a significantly reduced role on the team due to sitting below Nick Chubb on the depth chart. If Hunt feels he deserves more involvement then going elsewhere is likely his best option.
Should the Patriots show interest in Hunt?
Although the Browns are said to have declined the idea of trading their running back, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is completely off the table. The NFL is not known for being loyal to their players, and the Browns have made it clear they are willing to risk their reputation if it means they get a better chance at winning games.
The Patriots become an interesting possible trade partner because of their current running back situation. Their RB room is indeed full, especially since they drafted two just this past year. But with James White announcing his retirement, there’s a chance they would want to replace him with another reliable veteran passing-back.
Do they really need another running back?
Throughout three weeks of training camp practices, the Patriots’ offense has shown to be struggling a lot. Whether it is because of the change in coaching, the changes made to the playbook, or simply because they aren’t working well together is unknown. But the offense has not looked good thus far.
The offense did appear more cohesive in their first preseason game last Thursday, however, but the new scheme that is said to be taking place was not seen much in the game. The running backs continued to struggle, only gaining an average of 2.9 yards per carry, and were not successful in the passing game either.
As an optimal part of their game planning, bringing in Hunt to play the James White role would make sense. Rookies Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris fit the bill to take over that spot as well, but rookies aren’t known for starting right away under Belichick in New England.
Rhamondre Stevenson has also reportedly worked on improving his pass-catching this offseason, adding him to the mix as well.
Why would the Patriots need to trade for Hunt?
The addition of Hunt would immediately add exactly what Belichick is hoping to replace. White became an intricate part of this offense over the years and his injury last year impacted their success. Now that he won’t be returning at all, it leaves a big gap for the rest of the running backs to fill.
- 32 games played
- 319 carries for 1,406 yards and 13 touchdowns
- 97/122 receptions (79.5%) for 763 yards and 6 touchdowns
Kareem Hunt’s stats in Cleveland from 2019 – 2021
Of course, the trade isn’t a necessity at this point. The Patriots have great depth at the RB position with young talent that can develop into exactly what they need over the next few seasons.
But if they’re looking to have an immediate starter and impact maker, then don’t be surprised if they kick the tires on Hunt.