It’s no secret that the New Orleans Saints could use more help on their way back. Between the threat of suspension for Alvin Kamara and the lackluster display of last year’s backups, the position has become a hot topic for off-season chatter — especially with trade speculation on everyone’s mind ahead of training camp.
We’ve already heard the argument for potential saints trade for the Kenyan Drake from Las Vegas Raiders† Here’s an alternative to Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyedwho suggested New Orleans make a move for Cleveland Browns bringing back Kareem Hunt:
“It would only make sense for the Browns to trade Hunt if they keep D’Ernest Johnson. The Saints brace for a suspension for running back Alvin Kamara after being charged with felony battery before the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas in February. If it’s a lengthy suspension, the Saints need a better replacement than Mark Ingram† Tony Jones and Abram Smith† Kamara and Hunt could also coexist in the New Orleans backfield.”
Hunt, 26, has made a name for himself as a dual-threat playmaker averaging 60.3 rushing yards per game and 27.1 yards per game in his 59-game NFL career. He also scored 44 touchdowns (28 on the ground, 16 through the air). And he’d work in a rotation in New Orleans, which is the same role he’s had in Cleveland for the past few years (averaging 9.9 wears per game as a Brown), so it’s easy to see how he would fit on the offensive behind Kamara, or as Kamara’s replacement to start the season.
Financial matters are also discussed. Hunt is in the final year of his contract and would charge a minimum salary cap, tied to his $1.35 million base salary and $3.4 million in roster bonuses per game. That’s an affordable contract for any team to take on. Cleveland has a reason to trade him after being loaded into the position, with Nick Chubb emerging as one of the best running backs in the game. Between re-signing Johnson earlier this season and spending a draft pick on Demetric Felton last year, they’ve got depth too, if the Saints are going to make it worth it.
But he brings some luggage. Hunt first joined the Browns in 2019 after an eight-game suspension following a 2018 controversy in which he was seen hitting a woman on video† which led to his release from the Kansas City Chiefs† His tenure in Cleveland has passed without incident, although it is worth noting that he missed half of the 2021 season with a calf injury. If there are other options with a cleaner background and injury history, I’d rather go in a different direction. But the Saints have shown us that they overlook such things through their intensive recruitment of Deshaun Watson.
However, it appears that the Saints are not feeling the same pressure to pursue a new running back that we see in the media. The team met Sony Michel early on in the free agency (who later signed with the Miami Dolphins for minimum salary) and they brought in former All-Pro David Johnson for an extended tryout at minicamp, but no deal came about. There is certainly interest in adding another player to the depth chart, but only on their terms and at their price. Until something changes – like Kamara getting the suspension we expect, and maybe the Saints looking into their internal options during the preseason games – it doesn’t look like big steps ahead. Stay frosty.
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