Teams that could trade for Kareem Hunt and the Fantasy Impact
Kareem Hunt has demanded a trade from the Browns, but so far Cleveland has denied the request. That might be their stance for now, but at some point, the Browns will likely want to get some positive asset in return for their talented number 2 back. Cleveland is dealing with another other drama right now, and since they are likely not a contender this season they should cash in on Hunt’s request. Hunt might be an afterthought to some people since he’s been stuck as the Browns’ number 2 back, but from a pure talent standpoint, he can still be a featured weapon in the backfield. Here are some of the teams that should be in the Kareem Hunt market.
Non-Contenders, but still make sense to inquire:
The Falcons currently have a depth chart of Cordarrelle Patterson, Tyler Allgier, and Damien Williams at running back, so Kareem Hunt would be an upgrade. Patterson produced last season, but he is more of a receiving back and could focus on that if Hunt were acquired. The Falcons need Hunt, but would they trade future assets as they are looking to rebuild? As good as Hunt is, he’s getting up there in age for a running back, and he might have only a couple of prime years left. Atlanta is pretty far away and probably shouldn’t invest the assets and money in acquiring him or retaining him. Now if they do still go ahead and trade for him, his fantasy value goes up as the opportunity would be there.
The Texans are in a similar situation to the Falcons. From a need perspective, they absolutely could use Hunt, but they are not a real contender this season. They shouldn’t spend the picks to get him, but if they do he would be a major fantasy value as his touch projection would go way up. Houston probably has a slightly greater need than Atlanta, as they don’t currently have a player like Patterson on their roster. The Texans also might already have their young QB in place in Davis Mills and could want to see if he can be the future starter by adding talent around him. Still, it seems unlikely and unwise that they would trade for Hunt.
Unlikely to happen, but fills a big need:
The Ravens’ top two backs (J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards) are currently recovering from major knee injuries, and might not be ready to start the season. That leaves a team that wants to get back to running the football without a good option to pair with star QB Lamar Jackson. Hunt would be the perfect fit for Baltimore’s offense, and he could then pair with Dobbins when he heals. The problem here is pretty obvious, the Browns aren’t likely to want to trade in the division with the Ravens. Not only is Hunt looking for an extension as any part of a trade, but the last thing the Browns would want is to trade a star player that helps Baltimore get back to the Super Bowl.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Hunt’s career started with the Chiefs and he was an instant superstar in Andy Reid’s offense. When the domestic violence video emerged, the Chiefs quickly cut Hunt and washed their hands of him. Since then the Chiefs have been searching high and low for a quality back and so far have not found one that fits their offense. Could a reunion happen? On paper it makes sense, and Hunt’s fantasy upside in this offense is RB1.
As much as the need is there, it seems less likely this trade actually gets made. The Chiefs were quick to get rid of Hunt versus just suspending him and fining him. There was some initial talk of how Hunt felt blindsided by them. So perhaps both sides would want to avoid a reunion. I wouldn’t totally close the book on a trade back to Kansas City, but it still seems like there is a low chance of it happening.
The Perfect Trade?:
San Francisco 49ers-
The Browns need a quarterback if DeShaun Watson is suspended for anything close to the season, and Jimmy Garoppolo needs a home. Money and some other factors would need to be worked out as well, but a swap centered around Hunt and Garoppolo could make sense.
From the Browns’ perspective, it would help keep them in the contention bubble for at least part of the season. This could help appease the fan base some, and give them something to root for. Also, since their 1st round pick is going to the Texans, it doesn’t help the Browns to just lose while Watson is out.
The 49ers on the other side would add a really good back to pair with Elijah Mitchell, in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Shanahan has liked having two backs, and the team even spent a 3rd rounder on Tyrion Davis-Price, just to have some insurance with Mitchell. The 49ers are hoping that between their defense and skill positions, they can get back to the Super Bowl with young QB Trey Lance. Adding another quality back like Hunt would only help that pursuit.
This sounds too much like a Madden trade for it to be true, but a deal could come together by the start of the season.
This is the deal that most fantasy fans are hoping for as adding Hunt to the Bills’ explosive offense, could put him in a position to be a top 5 RB in fantasy (PPR). The Bills have lacked consistent RB production, though they are hopeful this season that a combination of Devin Singletary and James Cook, could be enough. Singletary was strong down the stretch for Buffalo last season, and Cook is a rookie with a really good receiving profile. That combination could be pretty solid, but would pale in comparison to having Hunt as a complete back.
If Hunt is available for a reasonable price, Buffalo needs to make a strong offer to add him to their team. The Bills are one of the best teams in football, but adding a player like Hunt could be enough to put them in the Super Bowl.
Much of the focus has been on the Bills as the best fit, but perhaps it might be AFC East rival the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins spent all offseason retooling their offense for new coach Mike McDaniel, but they still could look to do more. Miami did bring in Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, and Sony Michel at running back, but only Edmonds has any real money invested in him. Edmonds is a talented back, but probably more of a true satellite back. He’s not someone who will be strong running near the goalline or a back that should get 200+ carries.
Hunt could be that back for Miami, and really add some balance to this offense. He could really thrive in McDaniel’s offense, which comes from the Shanahan coaching tree, which has always been favorable to running backs. If this trade were to be made, Hunt’s fantasy value would skyrocket. Buffalo might be a slightly better fit, but Miami is close and could be a team to watch.
The Eagles are perhaps the best-built rushing team in the league, with an elite offensive line, a mobile QB, and a solid stable of running backs. A Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott backfield is a good committee approach, but Philadelphia does lack a true Alpha back. Hunt could give them a back who is dynamic both inside and out and is a weapon in the passing game. He would be a pretty sizable upgrade over Miles Sanders. Hunt has proven to be excellent in the Red Zone, which is a need area for Philadelphia as well.
If the Eagles were to add Hunt, it’s possible they could look to trade Sanders in a separate deal to not muddle up the backfield too much. Philadelphia’s path back to the playoffs is on the ground and ball-control football. Hunt is exactly the type of complete back they need to put atop their depth chart.
New Orleans Saints:
It’s looking less and less likely that Alvin Kamara will be suspended to start this season, but it’s still possible. Even if Kamara does avoid a potential 6 game suspension, the Saints have only Mark Ingram and a handful of UDFAs and SFA’s behind him. For a team that is in a bit of a win-now mode, adding Hunt would ensure the Saints could have a 2nd back to use with Kamara. This team has functioned the best in recent years when they’ve had two backs to rely on. The situation could be similar to Hunt’s current situation in Cleveland.