He needs the rock.
He needs solid blockers in front.
And he needs a contract extension, pronto.
And whether the Browns realize it or not, they need him too.
Here are three reasons why the Browns should extend Kareem Hunt:
There are a lot of questions about Cleveland’s offense last season.
Other questions have been entirely self-inflicted.
— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) June 17, 2022
Namely Cleveland’s decision to jeopardize its future by trading for Deshaun Watson.
And every time a team faces questions, little cracks of instability naturally appear.
And as Cleveland deals with significant questions, it also deals with significant instability.
Why add to that instability by trading away Hunt, who has been a Browns staple for three years?
Talent aside (more on that below), teams need a level of consistency and structure in order to succeed.
Take Kansas City, for example.
For the last five years, KC has cultivated a sense of stability, beginning in the front office and extending down to the field.
And because of that stability (and talent), the team has been wildly successful.
And aside from trading Tyreek Hill in the offseason (which, depending on how much Hill has left in the tank, could be remembered as a smart move), KC has made shrewd moves that reinforce stability.
Letting Hunt walk away would chip away at whatever shred of stability Cleveland still has on offense.
2. Legit One-Two
While stability is important, most fans would argue talent should rule the day.
And in Hunt, the Browns have a highly talented running back.
Even more important, Brown is a backup, a second option.
In Hunt and starter Nick Chubb, the Browns have one of the best one-two backfield punches in professional football.
On how many teams would Hunt be a legit first option?
More than half?
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) June 18, 2022
And which team has a two-back set that even comes close?
Dallas with Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard?
That’s not even in the same zip code as Chubb and Hunt.
Further, Hunt is a perfect scheme fit in coach Kevin Stefanski’s system.
Through Cleveland’s first five games last season, Hunt and Chubb combined for over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, becoming only the third duo to accomplish such a feat over the last 30 seasons.
As a result, both Chubb and Hunt’s careers are likely to be extended because of the lower workload each has.
3. Best Still To Come?
Hunt looked on pace to have a career year last season.
Through his first six games, Hunt was on pace for over 1,000 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, according to Pro Football Reference.
The touchdowns would have been the most in his career and yards second highest after his breakout rookie year.
Unfortunately, a calf injury prevent Hunt from appearing in more than two more games last season.
But those initial numbers should be promising for the Browns.
Now, Hunt is coming off an injury, but not a career-ender ACL or Achilles tear.
The additional rest could bolster Hunt’s freshness heading into next season and beyond.