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Three Likely Free Agent Destinations for Kareem Hunt

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 24:  Ken Crawley #32 of the Miami Dolphins attempts to tackle Kareem Hunt #27 of the Cleveland Browns during the game at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 24, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Miami Dolphins v Cleveland Browns | Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns may have trouble retaining all of their free agents, including running back Kareem Hunt. The former Kansas City Chief is on a one-year contract and will be a restricted free agent this spring, but was suspended for the first eight games of this season after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He hasn't made much of an impact since his return, picking up only 79 yards on 18 carries in his three starts in 2019.

His decline in stats doesn't owe to a decline in skill, but a change in role. The Browns already have Nick Chubb, the NFL's second-leading rusher, which has significantly reduced Hunt's expected role in the offense. Chubb's emergence could push Hunt out of Cleveland, should the Browns not give Hunt a qualifying offer during the off-season. However, there are plenty of teams who could use the former Pro Bowler's skills.

1. Kansas City Chiefs
Even as they contend for a division title, Hunt's former team have felt his absence. The Chiefs signed veteran LeSean McCoy to fill the gap over the offseason, but already the 31-year-old has fallen out of favor with head coach Andy Reid and was even a healthy scratch during their Week 10 loss to the Titans. Second-string back Damien Williams has also failed to keep a long-term grip on the starting job, putting added pressure on Patrick Mahomes to carry the load. Hunt's 1,000-yard season in 2017 helped a less-explosive Chiefs squad to that season's AFC West title. Imagine what he'd do for this fully-realized Chiefs team.

2. Atlanta Falcons
One of the biggest factors to the Falcons' sudden and unexpected fall from grace this season has been its lack of a running game. In recent years, Matt Ryan could turn to backs like Tevin Coleman and a healthy Devonta Freeman. Atlanta lost Coleman to San Francisco this offseason, and they haven't had Freeman for long stretches this year due to a sprained foot. When they have had him, they haven't gotten much use out of him; Freeman has only mustered 3.4 yards per carry, and the Falcons as a whole have the league's third-weakest ground game. A runner like Hunt couldn't come soon enough to help Matt Ryan make another Super Bowl push.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This offseason, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians expressed some interest in Hunt before the Browns snatched him. Depending on how things go after 2019 wraps up, Arians could get a second chance at Hunt, and not a moment too soon for his Bucs offense. The backfield combination of Ronald Jones II and Peyton Barber hasn't exactly worked out, as neither runner has reached 500 yards rushing. While quarterback Jameis Winston makes strides toward improvement - the Buccaneers have the fourth-best offense in the NFL, even with their sub-.500 record - one great running back could make the system complete.