RB Kareem Hunt was recently released by the Kansas City Chiefs. In doing so, a very young and talented player was just allowed to enter free agency. He is only 23 years old, so he could still potentially be viewed as a long-term building block for a franchise, and he is an extremely talented player. Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends for Kareem Hunt.
Videos of various incidents were published online. Hunt admitted to ESPN that he lied to the Chiefs about these incidents. The combination of Hunt lying to the Chiefs and the nature of the incidents in today's climate forced the Chiefs, one of the league's best teams in 2018, to release one of their top players.
Let’s just state the obvious here. The odds of Kareem Hunt signing with an NFL team and during this season are practically zero. Hunt was placed on the NFL Commissioner’s exemption list, so even if a team were to sign him now, he likely wouldn't be reinstated this season anyway. With that being said, his placement on that list does not necessarily preclude him from signing with a team this offseason. Once the NFL carries out their discipline for Hunt, there's reason to think he'll get another chance to play next season.
Many NFL teams have shown that they can look past off-field misconduct as long as they are solid contributors on the field. On the field, Hunt is just in his second season and has already won a league rushing title.
This article will take a look at some of the teams who could end up signing Kareem Hunt, teams who should stay away, and some teams who Hunt wouldn’t even consider.
20 Could Sign: Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins signing Kareem Hunt is probably what many NFL fans are expecting will happen, particularly since they had just recently claimed Reuben Foster under similar circumstances. While it does indicate the Redskins are willing to give players a second shot, there is a chance it might actually make some sense in this case.
After all, the Redskins are just short of a wild card spot in the NFC and before they were ravaged by injuries this season, they were in the driver's seat in the NFC East. It's unlikely they'll keep Adrian Peterson beyond this year, and coming back next season with Kareem Hunt in the backfield, along with Derrius Guice could give the 'Skins an amazing duo at RB.
19 Stay Away: Oakland Raiders
While there are some good reasons why the Oakland Raiders would be enticed to sign someone as talented as Kareem Hunt, it is highly unlikely to ever happen. For years, Raiders owner Mark Davis has been very adamant about his stance on players who commit acts such as Hunt has. Davis and the Raiders organization has long been against having players with these kind of issues, and it is highly unlikely that Hunt will be able to change their minds. Even though Hunt is very talented and would greatly help the Raiders, the team will stay far away on this one.
18 Could Sign: Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys would be an intriguing landing spot for Kareem Hunt. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently stated that he was "keeping a close eye" on the Hunt situation, which could obviously be interpreted in a couple different ways. Plus, we have seen Jerry Jones sign the likes of Greg Hardy in the past.
However, it does raise the question of whether Jones is considering signing Kareem Hunt and pairing him up with Ezekiel Elliott. If this were to come to fruition, it would easily give the Cowboys the best RB duo in the NFL. It's unknown what Hunt could demand in terms of salary, but if he doesn't command all that much, the Cowboys would definitely be in on him.
17 Won't Consider: San Francisco 49ers
Even considering the circumstances, it is still very likely that Kareem Hunt would prefer to join a team that is a contender or at least has a good chance of being a true playoff contender. With the San Francisco 49ers looking like they will finish with the worst record in the NFL this season, odds are Hunt will not even consider them.
Unless they somehow turn things around, it does not appear as though their odds of being a true playoff contender next season looks realistic either. However, one thing the 49ers do have going for them is a lot of open cap space.
16 Stay Away: Houston Texans
The Houston Texans are one of the teams who should not be considering signing Kareem Hunt. It isn't so much that they wouldn't be a better team with Hunt on their roster, it's more that they don't even need him with the makeup of this team. After all, the Texans have raced out to the top of their division this season with a healthy Deshaun Watson bakc.
Houston has enough offensive weapons already, and their offensive game is obviously running really well right now. Why should the Texans want to change something that is already working? The Texans would likely be better served addressing other areas of their roster.
15 Could Sign: Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have shown that they can play up to their opponents on certain days, but are capable of laying a dud. They have shown that they can stay in a playoff hunt, but they just don't have enough playmakers to get them over the hump. Adding Kareem Hunt might be that one player the team need to do just that. Despite his controversies, Hunt is still an electric talent who would make Miami a much better team.
In addition, RB Kenyan Drake is still hurt and it remains to be seen how effective he will be going forward for the team. There's also the high likelihood that Frank Gore could retire after this season. With a lack of quality starting options at RB, signing Hunt would make a lot of sense.
14 Stay Away: Tennessee Titans
As of writing, the Tennessee Titans have a healthy amount of cap space left that they could contemplate signing Kareem Hunt to solidify their backfield. However, it might not be in the organization's best interests to do so. The Titans currently have former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, and the Titans should keep him right where he is. In addition, they already signed Dion Lewis to a multi-year deal last offseason. Henry is only 24 years old and has been fairly successful in the NFL thus far, helping get the Titans to the playoffs last year. Unless the Titans have lost faith in Henry, they should give him every opportunity going forward rather than pursuing Hunt.
13 Could Sign: Jacksonville Jaguars
While the Jaguars took a major step back this season, missing the playoffs after reaching the AFC Championship last year, Hunt could still be enticed to join the Jaguars next year. With Leonard Fournette having trouble staying healthy at times, Hunt could be the team's primary running back next season. Even if Fournette is in Jacksonville for the long haul, the Jaguars could still use a quality back given Fournette's injury history. In addition, this would allow the Jaguars to cut Carlos Hyde and clear up approximately $4 million in what is going to be an already tight cap year.
12 Won't Consider: Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are another example of an organization who could really use a player like Kareem Hunt. He would easily fit into the roster and who would improve the team. However, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson has been fairly outspoken about where he stands on these issues and if he wants players such as Hunt in his clubhouse. Pederson does not seem to share Hunt's belief that he should be forgiven and given a second chance in the NFL so soon. Given these differences, it does not appear likely that Hunt will want to head to a situation where he doesn't appear to have the support of the man who would be his head coach.
11 Stay Away: Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams already built themselves a stacked roster this past offseason, and look to stand a good chance at reaching the Super Bowl. Since things are looking pretty good for the Rams, the general rule of thumb is to not mess with what has been working well. The Rams do not have very many urgent holes to fill, which is a good thing since they have very little cap space going into next year. As a result of not having very much salary cap space left, with Aaron Donald and Todd Gurley's contract extensions kicking in, it would probably be a good idea if the Rams stay away from signing Kareem Hunt.
10 Could Sign: Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts have enjoyed quite a bounce back year, mostly thanks to having a healthy Andrew Luck , and signing a talented player such as Kareem Hunt might help propel them to the top of the division in the coming years. While there is obviously a huge risk in doing so, the Colts easily have the cap space to take this risk. The Colts have a projected $124.4 million in cap room going into next season and a relatively cheap contract to Hunt will barely put a dent in that. In addition, the Colts could use a running back with an extensive track record of success - which would be something they currently lack.
9 Stay Away: Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers could feasibly stand to add a player like Hunt to a backfield already featuring Melvin Gordon, but the team should be more seriously thinking about their long-term solutions at quarterback. Philip Rivers will be turning 37 soon, and it remains to be seen how many more seasons he will play. It should be concerning that the Chargers still don't have a long-term solution there.
The Chargers already have one of the more complete rosters in the NFL and if they make any upgrades this offseason, they will have to use their remaining cap space wisely. The Chargers might be better off trying to figure out a way to find a long-term replacement for Rivers, rather than spending money on Kareem Hunt.
8 Won't Consider: Cleveland Browns
There are several reasons why Kareem Hunt might be enticed to join the Cleveland Browns. They are a rebuilding team with a group of young players who are trying to learn how to win together. On the surface, that seems like a good match for the 23-year-old. Unfortunately, Hunt's incident took place in the Cleveland area. This might consequently make Hunt reluctant to head back to Cleveland any time soon, given the circumstances. Hunt would prove to be a distraction to the team, and is not exactly something he nor the Browns want at this point in their rebuild.
7 Could Sign: Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are yet another one of those teams who find themselves stuck in the middle of the pack. It's a tough spot to be in, but the Falcons might have that urge to do something big to get them back into the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Falcons have limited cap space available which hinders their ability to do much. However, Kareem Hunt should be available on a relatively cheap contract and would help out greatly on the team's backfield. Plus, the Falcons have to worry about keeping their current backfield intact. Devonta Freeman will be back next year, while Tevin Coleman is a pending free agent.
6 Won't Consider: New Orleans Saints
Kareem Hunt is extremely unlikely to seriously consider signing with the New Orleans Saints. Right now, the Saints have arguably the best backfield in the NFL right now. The combination of Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Terrance West have been one of the league's most dominant backfields during the 2018 season.
The Saints will have to re-sign Mark Ingram this offseason and reaching out to a player like Hunt may cause some chemistry issues for this Saints offense. While Hunt and Kamara are among the best receiving backs in the league, how would Drew Brees and company feel about adding Hunt coming off the incident? It's probably best for the Saints not to mess with what's worked.
5 Stay Away: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for Kareem Hunt, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not likely to be the team he ends up signing with. The Buccaneers already have plenty of offensive weapons, so they should not necessarily be looking to sign someone who wouldn't fill their biggest needs. The Buccaneers could use an upgrade at offensive tackle or even on defense to help improve the team's record next season. In addition, Tampa Bay may have to get their quarterback situation figured out this offseason. Looking at upgrading their backfield should probably be the last thing on their minds.
4 Could Sign: Chicago Bears
While this is not necessarily the perfect fit for Kareem Hunt, it is one that might make a lot of sense for both sides. Hunt signing with the Chicago Bears would reunite him with Matt Nagy, who was hired as the Bears' head coach in January 2018. Nagy was also the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs when Hunt had arguably his best season and led the league in rushing yards.
While Nagy has stayed silent on the Hunt situation, that kind of productivity would be a boon to the Bears - and make them an even better team at the same time.
3 Stay Away: Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills are one of the organizations who do not shy away from taking on talented players even though it may result in a public backlash, as has been the case with Terrell Owens and Richie Incognito. However, their controversies were nowhere near as serious as what Hunt faces. While the Bills could use a player such as Hunt, now would not be right time for the organization to do so. They have long spoken about creating a positive culture based on a strong work ethic, and building a dynamic culture. In other words, trust "the process". Adding Hunt to the Bills' locker room could threaten to disrupt that culture, which isn't something the team needs at this stage of their rebuild.
2 Could Sign: New England Patriots
Signing Kareem Hunt would undoubtedly be a bold and risky move for the New England Patriots, but they are a team who might be willing to do so. The Patriots are in a position where they will want to try to win as many championships as possible before Tom Brady calls it a career. With Brady's career winding down in the next few seasons, signing a top talent like Hunt on the cheap will help further boost the Patriots' Super Bowl chances in Brady's remaining years. This would be more of a question on where the Patriots would stand as far as taking a player coming off various off-field incidents.
1 Won't Consider: Kansas City Chiefs
I don’t think that this one needs very much explaining. After all, the Chiefs cut a very talented player from their roster for inappropriate conduct that occurred off the football field. The Chiefs felt that, as a football team, they needed to move on. Hunt will almost certainly not entertain any offer to return to the team that cut him. Instead, he will look to start fresh on another team. Considering the Chiefs are still loaded on offense and can probably find a good replacement for Hunt this offseason, they don't need to explore a reunion in the future. At least the Chiefs are believed to be willing to help Hunt find a new team, though.