The NFL on Friday morning officially suspended Browns running back Kareem Hunt for eight games. Hunt will not appeal.
So Cleveland will be without him for half of the 2019 season. And now that they’re actually playoff contenders, maybe this means running back Duke Johnson won’t be as available as we thought.
My guess is it will now be a little harder for the Eagles to trade for Johnson if that’s what they want to do.
Johnson would make a lot of sense for the Eagles as a trade target this offseason. He is just 25 and has a base salary of just $1.8 million in 2019. He became unhappy with his role last season and that was before the addition of Hunt.
Johnson would be a perfect replacement for Darren Sproles as a pass-catching running back in the Eagles’ rotation. And trading for a running back wouldn’t affect the compensatory pick formula. It seems like that is really important to the Eagles these days.
On Thursday, Cleveland.com reported the Browns were shopping Johnson and at least three teams were interested. But that report also said the length of Hunt’s suspension would impact their decision.
Sure, we all knew Hunt was going to be suspended. And Hunt’s decision to not even appeal makes it seem like this length was expected. But in that Cleveland.com story, it said there was a thought the suspension might not be as long because Hunt missed five games last season after the Chiefs cut him. We don’t know if that did affect the length of the suspension, but eight games is significant and without Hunt, the Browns are left with just Nick Chubb and Johnson. In previous years, that wouldn’t matter, but the Browns have added a ton of talent and are expected to compete for a playoff spot in 2019.
The Eagles haven’t added a running back yet this offseason, but there’s still time in free agency and the draft in April. Right now, they have Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams returning from last year’s roster.
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