With news coming out that the Cleveland Browns plan to tender D’Ernest Johnson, that could be a sign of what’s to come for Kareem Hunt.
At this point, it is unclear on what round tender the Browns will be placing on Johnson, but this is a sign they want to keep him around.
The tender allows Cleveland to match any deal that is offered to Johnson in the free agency market, and if the Browns don’t want to match that deal, they would receive that round of pick from the other team. The highest round tender you can place is a second.
Johnson hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities in Cleveland, but he certainly has made the best of the limited work he has received when guys like Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt have been injured.
Cleveland Browns plans going forward at running back
Is the tender a sign of what’s to come for Hunt?
Let’s be honest, the Browns offense is as old school as it comes with running the ball, but I’m not sure even they could justify paying three running backs. I believe there is a good chance that hunt could be released which would save the Browns over $6 million in cap space for next season.
There’s a chance they are just sitting up Johnson as bait to get another pick, but with no dead money on Hunt’s contract, it really makes more sense to go with him as the second option.
I’m not arguing that this makes the Browns roster better, Hunt has been fantastic. However, we can’t overlook that he has missed 17 games over the last three seasons. He’s one of those guys that run with no regard for his body, so injuries are going to happen.
If Andrew Berry is going to have to find a new edge rusher, wide receiver, and possibly a linebacker in free agency, the team is going to have to cut some veteran guys. Don’t forget about an extension due to Denzel Ward and possibly Baker Mayfield as well that are looming.