By Evan Bleier / February 12, 2019

What Exactly Were the Browns Thinking With Kareem Hunt Signing?

By signing the running back now, the Browns will own Hunt's rights for two seasons.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) on the sidelines during a NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams on November 19, 2018 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) on the sidelines during a NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams on November 19, 2018 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Despite knowing they would face blowback in the court of public opinion, the Cleveland Browns inked running back Kareem Hunt to a one-year contract yesterday.

With the move, thanks to minutiae within the NFL’s salary system, the Browns will essentially own Hunt’s rights for two seasons.

So, considering he was released by the Chiefs in December after video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a young woman in February 2018 at a Cleveland hotel, why exactly do they want him?

The biggest reason is, despite how bad of a person he might be off the field, Kareem Hunt is undeniably a good football player while on it. Before he was released last year, Hunt rushed for 824 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games and had seven receiving touchdowns.

Now, thanks to the addition of Hunt to a backfield that already includes Nick Chubb (who ran for 996 yards as a rookie) and change-of-pace back Duke Johnson Jr. With those three in the fold, Cleveland might have the most dynamic set of backs in all of football.

And, if it doesn’t work out with Hunt, the Browns can just cut him. That’s the way business is done in the NFL and, as a business move, signing Hunt was a fairly shrewd one as Cleveland got a Pro Bowl running back for nothing.

The only risk is that fans will turn on the team, but, as Joe Posnanski points out in The Athleticif Hunt helps the Browns win, Cleveland fans will probably back him.

“I’ve heard from Browns fans who are upset about this,” Posnanski writes. “I’ve heard from Browns fans who are confused about how they feel. And, sure, I’ve heard from a Browns fan who is already imagining Kareem Hunt in the backfield, catching Baker Mayfield passes, scoring touchdowns. So far it’s just one, but it’s only the first day. We all know that number will grow and grow, and if Kareem Hunt can get back on the field and play his kind of football, the hometown cheers will be deafening. This is what it is to be a football fan.”

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