One website mentioned the Chiefs as the top possible destination for Kareem Hunt this offseason, but that’s not going to happen.
Two things to establish here at the outset:
- Kareem Hunt would be a wonderful addition to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason.
- Kareem Hunt will never return to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason.
A columnist over The Big Lead recently decided to take a guess as to where Kareem Hunt might end up next season. No, he is not an unrestricted free agent able to freely move about the NFL’s cabin as he pleases, but he is hitting restricted free agency and the Cleveland Browns have other pressing concerns and the presence of Nick Chubb already in house. The assumption on their part is that he will end up somewhere.
The number one overall guess-tination: the Kansas City Chiefs.
While this is a wonderful thought, for those of us who just want to construct the best possible team—context be damned—it’s never going to happen. The foundation for any relationship is trust and the Chiefs have none of it for Hunt. They said as much while kicking him out the door last December.
Remember this: the Chiefs did not release Kareem Hunt because he shoved or assaulted a woman. The Chiefs did not release Hunt for potentially having an ongoing anger issue that caused him to get involved in multiple other offseason disturbances. No, the Chiefs released Hunt because the Pro Bowl running back looked at them and denied his involvement despite being guilty.
In short, Kareem Hunt lied to the Chiefs. In fact, he lied on multiple occasions to team officials when pressed. Given the knowledge that they could no longer trust their prized player, they decided to cut ties. There was no relationship to be had. There was no trust in place.
Just one year later, the idea of adding Hunt to the offense looks great on paper. The Chiefs obviously miss Hunt’s bell cow presence in the backfield as a dynamic player who must accounted for on the same level as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. In this loaded offense with Sammy Watkins, having a superstar and potential league-leading talent would have eased the offensive pressure at multiple times this season through injuries.
Unfortunately for both sides, there’s no bridge back to Kansas City. Why? Kareem Hunt already torched them all. For the Chiefs to eat crow on this would be a PR snafu that they won’t stomach. One year ago, they needed to distance themselves as far from it as they could. One year later, Clark Hunt is not going to look at his running back committee and say, “Well, let’s admit that trust is overrated.”
Trust is not overrated. Kareem Hunt is finished in Kansas City. It’s painful to admit it because, at this point, the Chiefs are shuffling old cards back into a deck that was already middling. Adding Hunt would be a windfall on the field. It would, however, also be an indefensible move off of it.
Perhaps there’s some redemptive path back with enough press conferences and supportive quotes from pastors and counselors from Hunt’s side to ease him back in. Maybe John Dorsey would vouch for him and the Chiefs would slowly but surely ingratiate him back into the locker room through a series of demanded meetings all offseason long.
I guess I should never say never, because Antonio Brown got the Patriots to bite after the Raiders let him go. Ray Lewis murdered a guy and continues to talk to me about football from his comfy television desk each week. Maybe Kareem Hunt can be trusted again. So maybe I should back off the whole never thing.
But here’s the reality of the moment. Hunt is a talented back who could very much end up back in Cleveland in a tandem situation once again. If not, there are 30 other teams with whom Hunt has zero baggage available to sign him next spring. Why would he even want to come back and conjure up those old ghosts? The same goes for the team. If running back is the easiest position to fill, why do so with someone you just booted a year prior?
It doesn’t make sense unless you treat the Chiefs like a fantasy team. It’s the very opposite of reality.