Even for NFL running back standards, Kareem Hunt is having a strange offseason.
After the former Browns running back was expected to sign with the Saints following a “great visit” Tuesday, the Colts reportedly swooped in and offered him more money, causing an immediate change of plans before Hunt even stepped on the field to practice with New Orleans.
The 28-year-old is now headed for a meeting with the Colts on Wednesday and the momentum for a signing appears to be directed toward Indianapolis.
Hunt, the 2017 runner-up for Offensive Rookie of the Year, spent two years with the Chiefs and four with the Browns before hitting free agency this offseason.
Hunt’s relationship with the Browns, where he played second fiddle to star back Nick Chubb, soured immensely over the last year.
He submitted two separate trade requests which were denied following the breakdown of extension talks.
Hunt had 123 carries last year and ran for 468 yards and three touchdowns, posting a career-worst yards per attempt at 3.8. He primarily served as the team’s pass-catching back.
Chubb, meanwhile, set career highs with 302 carries and 1,525 rushing yards.
Hunt’s lack of suitors during free agency is symptomatic of a larger problem for running backs, who are increasingly being devalued — former Pro Bowlers Dalvin Cook and Ezequiel Elliot remain unsigned after the Giants’ Saquon Barkley resolved his contract dispute.
Hunt struggled to stay healthy with the Browns, with his best year coming in 2020 when he totaled 841 yards on the ground and 304 yards in the air.
Rumors about Hunt coming to Indianapolis come during a chaotic time in the Colts’ running back room. Star back Jonathan Taylor is on the physically unable to perform list amid an ankle injury and a contract dispute that resulted in Taylor requesting a trade.
Colts backup running back Zack Moss also suffered a broken arm and free-agent acquisition Kenyan Drake doesn’t seem likely to be a savior at the position.
Indianapolis is looking to rebound after a disastrous 4-12-1 season that featured a puzzling midseason coaching change when the team fired Frank Reich and replaced him with former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who had no previous coaching experience.
Matt Ryan called his 2022 season with the Colts a ‘s–t show.”
With Shane Steichen now running things in Indy and with Anthony Richardson, the No. 4 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, set to lead the team, the only big question that remains is which back the quarterback will be handing the ball to each Sunday.