The Cleveland Browns face another problem off the field, but this time it doesn’t involve quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Rather, it is running back Kareem Hunt, who has not participated in team drills for the past two days in training to show his displeasure at not receiving a contract extension as he begins the final season of his current contract with the Browns.
Hunt’s stance was reported Saturday by CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson in a series of Tweets.
Browns RB Kareem Hunt – currently seeking a contract extension – did not participate in team drills for the second straight practice on Saturday. Hunt has told the team several times recently that his current plan is to only participate in individual exercises. Friday marked the first 1/4
—JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 6, 2022
Anderson reports that Hunt told club officials “several times” that he would only participate in individual drills, that he told team members “informally” that he wanted a new deal or an exchange Friday was the first time Hunt has not participated in team drills and his agent has been in Berea this week, which could signal talks with the front office.
The Browns are reportedly fining Hunt for skipping team drills, according to cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, who also reports the Browns are open to reaching a new deal with the veteran, but not until next season.
Kareem Hunt held on #Brunettes the team is training the last 2 days because of the contract extension he told the team in the spring that he wanted; the team will likely fine him https://t.co/2FiFtl4JUn
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 6, 2022
It was the last season of a two-year extension Hunt signed with the Browns and he made it known during the offseason that he wanted a new contract.
It’s hard to argue that Hunt doesn’t have value on offense, a point that became clearer last season when he missed nine games due to injury. Hunt is a dual threat and the Browns clearly lacked his passing skills when he was out of the lineup last season.
The situation is complicated by the fact that running back Nick Chubb is the clear No. 1 and has already signed his extension. Running back D’Ernest Johnson showed his value as an insurance policy last season when he was called up when Hunt and Chubb were out of the lineup, and Cleveland just selected running back Jerome Ford in this year’s draft.
Add it all up, and the Browns might have more leverage in this situation than Hunt.
In three seasons with the Browns, Hunt rushed for 1,406 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. He added 97 receptions for 763 yards and six touchdowns.