Sun Aug 7 9:58am ET
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt runs with the ball during the NFL football team's training camp Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)
BEREA, Ohio (AP) Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt has stayed out of team drills during practice the past two days in protest because he's asking the team for a long-term contract extension.
Hunt is the final year of a two-year, $12 million deal he signed two years ago. The 27-year-old has been productive during his three seasons for Cleveland, but he missed nine games last season with calf and ankle injuries.
Hunt's situation adds more drama for the Browns, who are waiting to see how long quarterback Deshaun Watson will be suspended for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is expected to address Hunt's situation before Sunday's practice.
There's no doubt the Browns value Hunt - who led the league in rushing as a rookie for Kansas City in 2017 - but he wasn't healthy a year ago and the team has better depth now at that position.
The Browns signed Hunt, who is from the Cleveland area, as a free agent in 2019. He came with his own baggage: suspended by the league for the first eight games of 2019 for off-field behavior, which included him shoving and kicking a woman while he played for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Running ferociously every time he touched the ball, Hunt rushed for 841 yards in 2020 and added 304 yards receiving. He led the team with 11 touchdowns and was a perfect complementary piece for Pro Bowl back Nick Chubb.
There's been speculation about Hunt's future because the Browns have Chubb (1,259 yards in 2021) as their primary back and another solid backup in D'Ernest Johnson, who had 534 yards while filling in last season.
Cleveland also drafted Jerome Ford in the fifth round from Cincinnati.
Dynasty | Bills rookie Khalil Shakir continues to shine in practice. Dynasty Analysis: The Bills have gone as far as having Shakir work with the first team offense at times during camp. The fifth round rookie has been a steady presence in the third round of rookie drafts, but his stock is clearly on the rise after being praised by multiple teammates, including the one who counts - Josh Allen. Shakir is a name to monitor in the coming weeks and is shaping up to be a very solid rookie pick.
Dynasty | Bears sophomore running back Khalil Herbert should factor more in the run-game alongside David Montgomery Dynasty Analysis: It stands to reason as Herbert is the clear-cut RB2 and profiles well as a between-the-tackles option. Montgomery is a do-it-all option at the position but will need a complement to remain effective and healthy in 2022. The bigger question surrounds the Bears' offense and whether sophomore quarterback Justin Fields can keep safeties out of the box via an effective pass-game. Herbert compiled a 103/433/2 stat-line in 2021 is a fair bet to increase upon those numbers in 2022. As DLF's RB48, Herbert is a valuable Montgomery handcuff or acquisition target for rebuilding teams.
Dynasty | Browns running back Kareem Hunt is not participating in team drills as he angles for a new contract Dynasty Analysis: The team will be fining him for lack of participation. Furthermore, Hunt has little to no leverage with his hold-in though may prefer a trade or his outright release. The nature of his contract, being very "incentive laden" may allow for greater trade potential to teams in need but the Browns have informed Hunt he will not be traded. With the regular season just over a month away, the timing of Hunts hold-in is not ideal for himself, or the team. Now 27, Hunt has only one (2020) 16-game season on his resume over his past four campaigns and only appeared in eight games in 2021, producing a 78/386/5 stat line as a runner combined with a 22/174/0 line as a receiver. He's a valuable complement but would have upside as a lead back in a new situation while also providing greater upside for Chubb at the same time. Hunt is listed as DLF's RB31 and could be an intriguing risk-on acquisition target for competitive dynasty teams.
Dynasty | Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins is pushing to return to the field and may be re-evaluated on Monday Dynasty Analysis: Nearly a year removed from the ACL injury which ended his 2021 season, all indications are that Dobbins is healthy and on-target for a return for the season opener. That said, the Ravens are taking a very cautious approach and haven't ruled out the back starting the season on the PUP list, missing the first four games in the process. In the end, expectation remains that Dobbins will be activated soon and with the Ravens recommitting to their run-first roots, his return, whenever that may be, will be a huge boost. He's listed as DLF's RB14.
Dynasty | 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk is running as the "top dog" at receiver while Deebo Samuel gets back up to speed. Dynasty Analysis: Citing a changed "mentality," head coach Kyle Shanahan also lauded Aiyuk's "feet and hips" as he seeks to separate from defenders instead of solely his speed. It's clear, Aiyuk has taken steps to improve his game with more focus on working his receiver craft, and the changes have drawn praise from his demanding coach. There's no question that Deebo Samuel will be the primary offensive weapon in 2022 but a healthy and focused Aiyuk could be also be an impact player for the team and his dynasty coaches. Listed as DLF's WR33, the 24-year-old Aiyuk isn't a free agent until 2024 and will seek to enter his 2023 contract-year with significant momentum gained in 2022. He represents an intriguing buy-low WR3/WR4 target for rebuilding teams.
Dynasty | Chargers backup running back Joshua Kelley has been turning heads in camp Dynasty Analysis: It's a three-way competition for the back-up role behind starter Austin Ekeler. Running backs coach Derrick Foster spoke highly of Kelley, Larry Rountree and rookie Isaiah Spiller, noting that Kelley is the one currently standing out due to increased effectiveness in pass protection. Once a glaring weakness, it was said it is now a strength. The bigger issue may be that Kelley, now in his third year, has yet to play a full season, notching only 10 games and a paltry 3.1 ypc. average in 2021. Reading between the lines from the interview, it seems Kelley is the favorite to win the job for 2022 but that Spiller, with his blend of speed and power, will be the back rising to the top in time. Joshua Kelley is unranked on DLF's running back rankings, making for potential deep-sleeper status should injury occur above him on the depth chart.
Dynasty | Lions 2022 receiver acquisition D.J. Chark is showing a strong connection with quarterback Jared Goff. Dynasty Analysis: Second-year player Amon-Ra St. Brown also stood out but it was Chark who was seemingly all over the place in the team's recent scrimmage, showing chemistry with Goff. Chark will turn 26 late in September and has had an injury marred four-year career. In 2021, his last year with Jacksonville, he would appear in only four games, though did score two touchdowns. Now fully healthy and with the Lions, Chark has been a popular sleeper target for dynasty coaches. Listed as DLF's WR59, there's plenty of runway available for the young receiver should he remain off the trainer's table and establish himself in the Motor City. While it's a big "if," there's no question Chark has WR1 potential in the rebuilding Detroit offense.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt has requested a trade, according to a league source. However, the team reportedly has no interest in honoring that request.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt is entering the final season of his current deal and had previously been seeking a contract extension but negotiations haven't been as productive as initially hoped. If he remains in Cleveland, he will be listed behind Nick Chubb on the depth chart, although he should have plenty of value as a flex option in PPR fantasy leagues on a consistent basis.
Dynasty | Seahawks off-season quarterback acquisition Drew Lock outplayed presumed starter Geno Smith in a recent mock game Dynasty Analysis: Lock performed well but head coach Pete Carroll didn't shine any additional light on the ongoing battle to be under-center in week one, saying "I don't have anything to tell you right now, I have to wait and see." It wouldn't be a shock to see Lock beat out veteran Geno Smith for the starting gig but regardless who wins the job, they're likely no more than a placeholder for the eventual starter who would be selected during 2023's deep rookie draft. To wit, Lock is ranked as DLF's QB35 while smith remains unranked altogether. It's a situation best avoided if at all possible.
The Los Angeles Rams have stayed in contact with free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. He is recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the Super Bowl. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, multiple NFL teams are interested in signing Beckham. The Rams are still maintaining conversations to bring the receiver back with the team in 2022. He is expected to return sometime in the second half of the NFL season. The 29-year-old hauled in 27 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight regular season games for the Rams and caught 21 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns during the Super Bowl run in the playoffs. Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson II are the Rams' top two wideouts, while the team's third receiver Van Jefferson underwent knee surgery on August 1 and is out a "few weeks." Stay tuned.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (knee) participated in individual and positional drills for the second consecutive day in Saturday's practice. He returned to training camp practice on Friday for the first time since having surgery for a torn ACL. "Same as (Friday)," Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said. "He's moving around good; he's running around, he's catching passes. He feels good, so we're just taking it day by day." Godwin could be ready by Week 1, but it's not guaranteed. He caught 98 passes for 1,103 yards and five touchdowns over 14 games in 2021. Godwin is 33rd on the latest Rotoballer wide receiver rankings, but that number could rise if he suits up in Week 1.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham Jr. (leg) injured his left leg during Saturday's practice. During 11-on-11 drills, the 24-year-old limped off after quarterback Justin Herbert attempted a pass to him down the left sideline. He exited practice early and did not return. The severity of Parham's injury is unknown, and he is considered day-to-day. The Chargers are expected to provide an update on Sunday when head coach Brandon Staley talks to the media. Parham had been a standout at camp, and he could surpass Gerald Everett on the tight end depth chart. Stay tuned for more updates.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell has embraced the ways wide receiver Adam Thielen can be used in his offensive scheme, particularly in the red zone. "The Vikings are doing everything they can to preserve the Cousins-Thielen scoring connection," per Kevin Seifert of ESPN. The 31-year-old has a knack for finding the end zone and caught 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons. "He's always been strong with the football," Cousins said. "He has great natural hands, great body control, and he plays big. He plays big and strong, and he runs big and strong. That shows up in the red zone and in tight windows and in tight coverage." Thielen will be quarterback Kirk Cousins' top option in the red zone and is a touchdown-dependent WR3 in upcoming fantasy drafts.
Cleveland Browns DE Stephen Weatherly (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Saturday, Aug. 6.
Cleveland Browns WR Javon Wims (illness) was activated from the Active/Non-Football Illness list Saturday, Aug. 6.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (foot) suffered a foot injury during practice on Saturday. However, after being evaluated, he returned to the field. With Tim Patrick (knee) tearing his ACL, Sutton is expected to see plenty of targets this season from new signal-caller Russell Wilson, especially in the red zone. The 26-year-old finished 2021-22 with only 58 catches for 776 yards and two touchdowns. Yet, with Wilson in the equation, Sutton could be in store for the best season of his career.
Free-agent wide receiver Willie Snead IV inked a one-year deal with the 49ers. The 29-year-old has suited up for regular season snaps in New Orleans, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Carolina since 2015. During that span, he's compiled 3,431 yards and 16 touchdowns off 279 catches. Although Snead will be behind Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings, and Danny Gray on the depth chart, he could see some looks from Trey Lance if someone gets injured within the receiving corps. As a result, he has streaming potential in 2022-23.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott (concussion) didn't practice on Saturday. The 27-year-old suffered the injury on Thursday after colliding with a teammate. However, he's not expected to be out long. Scott has been a relatively reliable performer for the team throughout his four years in the league, all in Philly, compiling 992 yards and 13 touchdowns off 228 carries. He's also added 62 catches for 449 yards and another touchdown. Nevertheless, although Scott won't be the primary option out of the backfield this season, he always seems to work his way into the picture. Considering Miles Sanders hasn't stayed healthy over the last two seasons, Scott has streaming potential in all fantasy formats.
Chicago Bears wide receiver N'Keal Harry (undisclosed) exited Saturday's practice. While there hasn't been an official word regarding the exact nature of the ailment, there is a belief the former Patriot injured his left leg. The Bears have dealt with injuries throughout its receiving corps recently, with Byron Pringle (quadriceps), Dante Pettis (undisclosed), and rookie Velus Jones Jr. (undisclosed) all banged up. There should be an update on Harry's condition soon. However, things aren't looking promising for the 24-year-old.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (elbow) threw during practice today and did not appear to be impacted by his injury, according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN. Head coach Sean McVay echoed that sentiment, saying, "I don't think you would know that anything was going on. I know that I'm going to sleep better tonight." Stafford's ailment was previously described as "unusual" for a quarterback, so it's refreshing to see that he has looked normal when taking reps. The 34-year-old has dealt with elbow issues in the past, but it hasn't slowed him down too much. Last season, he totaled 404 completions, 4,886 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions en route to finishing as the QB5 in his first year with the Rams. He owns an ADP of 129 heading into fantasy drafts.