Cleveland’s offseason drama and turmoil will obviously carry over into the regular season.Penalty against Deshaun Watson last week in impressive six-game run pausewhich has appeal by the NFL. Now, one of Cleveland’s primary offensive weapons, Kareem Hunter, is not only out of training camp, but also applying for a trade.
Mary Kay Cabot Cleveland Net Reports say the Browns rejected Hunter’s initial request, but that stance may change as we get closer to the regular season. As the preseason begins, many may think the contract dispute with Hunter will be a distraction. And knowing Cleveland, it probably will.
Hunter’s request had a huge impact on Cleveland’s offensive plan. Over the past few years, the Browns have built their offense around two running back systems. For the 2020 season, Hunter and Nick Chubb parted ways, taking the ball down the middle. Chubb carried the stone 190 times and Hunt carried the stone 198 times.
Cleveland made the playoffs in 2020 for the first time since 2002, riding two running backs. The Browns have shown they’ll win by trading Watson and all the scrutiny that comes with him. While Cleveland turned down Hunter’s trade request, it’s probably not a bad idea to go ahead with his wishes, especially if you don’t have plans to cash him any time soon.
If the Browns get poached and refuse to pay Hunter, they might get the best deal for his services. Part of that could be their wait to learn how attractive Watson’s six-game suspension will be to the league. If the NFL’s appeal succeeds and Watson’s suspension turns into a 12-game suspension or possibly an entire season, Cleveland will be in trouble.
Sure, they could roll with Jacoby Brissett, but many think this Browns team could make the playoffs again this year. However, Without a proven starting quarterback, those plans could soon vanish. There is a proven QB on the market, though. A guy who just walked out and won and led his team to the NFC Championship in two of the past three seasons.
Jimmy freaks Garoppolo. why not?like huntGaroppolo is also in his current final year trade. The money on each player’s contract is very different, so this needs to be worked out. But if there’s one thing we know best about 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, it’s that he loves the ball. With Trey Lance taking over in San Francisco as QB1, the Niners opened up and looked for a trading partner for Jimmy G. I think it makes a lot of sense on the pitch.
Of course, that only works if Watson misses most or all of the 2022 season due to suspension. Hunter is still young (27) and has spent most of his career on the committee offense. During his three years in Cleveland, Hunter made just 319 rushing attempts. Some of that was due to injuries, but more he carried separately from Chubb.
When you compare it to running backs like Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliot (26), it’s day and night. Elliott had more than 300 rushes in three of his first six years in the league, and we’ve all seen his decline over the past few seasons. In his rookie season alone, Elliott dribbled 322 times.Hunter barely did it in his three years in Cleveland, so he should be pretty fresh Compare. He averaged nearly 5 yards per carry last year, the most since his rookie season in Kansas City.
If I’m the Browns and Watson is out this season, I’ll pick up the phone, call John Lynch and offer a Hunt for Jimmy G. Obviously, the 49ers could go with Hunt to ask for a draft pick, but Cleveland still has some pick leftovers that should be willing to accommodate. I’ve never been the biggest Garoppolo fan, but damn, at some point, you just can’t ignore the results.
Jimmy G wasn’t pretty on the field, but he won. That should be the point here, winning. Let’s not forget that the Browns acquired Amari Cooper in a trade from the Cowboys this offseason. He makes Dak Prescott look great at times and could do the same for Garoppolo on this offense. Plus, he’ll still pass the ball to Chubb in the backcourt.
For now, I think the Browns are just waiting to see what happens with Watson. If he misses less than 10 games on appeal, there’s no reason to trade Jimmy G, and they probably want to keep Hunter in Cleveland anyway. However, if the appeal is successful and Watson has just left, you now have a worthwhile deal in Hunt and can move on.
The Browns find themselves in a crazy situation, but given their history, it just fits. There are a few franchises that I’m confident can navigate these choppy waters, but the Browns are not one of them.