What Does Kareem Hunt Mean for the Browns Offense?

Feb 11, 2019 3:17 PM EST
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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt

  • The Cleveland Browns have signed free agent running back Kareem Hunt.
  • Ian Hartitz analyzes how Hunt fits into the Browns' offense, as well as his fantasy football outlook for 2019.

The NFL offseason has started with a bang, as the Browns announced Monday that they’ve signed free agent running back Kareem Hunt. Ian Rapoport has reported that the contract is a one-year deal that could be worth more than $1 million not factoring in the suspension. Hunt will be a restricted free agent after the season.

General manager John Dorsey explained the controversial signing in a statement that highlighted his previous relationship with Hunt while both were a part of the Chiefs as a major factor in making the decision.

Dorsey also indicated that the Browns did “extensive due diligence with many individuals, including clinical professionals, to have a better understanding of the person he is today and whether it was prudent to sign him.”

Regardless of your feelings on Hunt as a person, it’s tough to deny that he’s among the league’s most dynamic running backs. This was on full display during the Chiefs’ Week 9 victory over the Browns last season, when Hunt converted 18 touches into 141 total yards and three touchdowns.

Hunt led the league in rushing as a rookie with 1,327 yards, and he scored 14 touchdowns in just 11 games in 2018 prior to his release. “Running backs don’t matter” critics might dismiss this success as a byproduct of the Chiefs’ ever-explosive offense, but it’s tough to find a hole in Hunt’s on-field game based on his 28 career games.

This signing presents several key on-field questions for the 2019 Browns.

What does the Browns backfield look like now?

Head coach Freddie Kitchens utilized both Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson during his eight games as the offense’s play-caller last season. Both backs saw plenty of snaps, but Chubb clearly worked as the team’s No. 1 runner.