The Browns plan to give Hunt a restricted free agent tender, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports. General manager Andrew Berry confirmed the plan but didn't elaborate on the level of the tender. An original-round tag should be enough to stave off interest from other teams, considering Hunt was a third-round pick back in 2017. His talent alone might warrant giving up a draft pick in addition to an offer sheet, but Hunt's problematic off-field history reduces his value to most teams. He was in the news again last month when a police officer found a small amount of marijuana in his car, though he wasn't arrested or cited. It remains to be seen if the NFL league office takes interest in the minor incident.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Wednesday that he still wants Hunt to be part of the team if the running back can follow the expectations that have been laid out for him, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Hunt was in the news a couple weeks ago, when he was stopped for speeding and a police officer found a small amount of marijuana in his car. He seems to have escaped the incident with nothing more than a speeding ticket, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll avoid a fine and/or suspension from the NFL. The 24-year-old running back is scheduled to be a restricted free agent this offseason, and it sounds like the Browns still plan to keep him around. A second-round tender would cost approximately $3.3 million, while an original-round tender would be closer to $2.1 million, per OvertheCap.com. The second option would force the acquiring team to send a third-round pick to Cleveland as compensation for poaching Hunt, as the running back was selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns also have the right to match any offer sheet, assuming they use one of the RFA tenders.
Hunt was stopped for speeding Tuesday afternoon, with a subsequent search of his car revealing a small amount of marijuana, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Hunt was neither arrested nor cited for the marijuana, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll escape discipline from the NFL. A spokesman for the Browns said the team is aware of the incident and is in the process of gathering more information, per Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram.
Hunt gained four yards on three carries and caught three of four targets for 32 yards in Sunday's 33-23 loss to the Bengals. The 36 combined yards from scrimmage were a season low for Hunt, who finishes the season with 179 rushing yards, 37 receptions, 285 receiving yards and three touchdowns over eight games. For the Browns, he worked hard and appeared to have learned from his off-field mistakes that led to an eight-game suspension to start the 2019 season. The NFL rushing leader in 2017 was used more as a receiving threat, which worked out well at times for the team. Hunt and Nick Chubb were a potent two-back duo that presented challenges for opposing defenses. Hunt can become a restricted free agent in the coming offseason, but the Ohio native has expressed interest in staying close to home, per Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. With the Browns in the market for a new head coach -- Freddie Kitchens was fired after the Week 17 loss -- there's no guarantee Hunt will be in the team's plans for 2020.
Hunt carried three times for zero yards and caught four passes for 33 yards during Sunday's 31-15 loss to the Ravens. Hunt did next to nothing on the ground, but he chipped in as a pass catcher yet again. Although he finished averaging just 8.3 yards per reception, he managed to place third on the team in receiving yards in what amounted to a tough day for the Browns offense. Hunt should have more success in next Sunday's season finale against a Cincinnati team that has been gashed by running backs all season.
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