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The photo that set off the entire city of Philadelphia on Friday? Eagles coach Nick Sirianni chatting up Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt before the Eagles and Browns held a dual practice in Berea, Ohio.
The passing pleasantry set off social media in Philly. Many fans would like the Eagles to trade for Hunt in the coming weeks before the regular-season opener at Detroit on Sept. 11.
Because, in case you have not heard, the Eagles are headed back to the playoffs in 2022. Hunt would surely make the journey much more certain.
And here’s the interesting thing: Hunt would be open to the move, according to a source familiar with his thinking. No, he’s not demanding a trade, a source told OutKick on Friday, because he likes playing for the Browns. But if the Eagles value him enough to trade for him and give him a contract extension as part of the deal, he’d be very welcoming.
So we’ve got possibilities here even if they’re not probabilities at this point.
Kareem Hunt is valued by the Browns, they like him as a very good insurance policy behind Nick Chubb. And the team is expected to rely heavily on its running game this year, especially while starting quarterback Deshaun Watson is serving an 11-game suspension for violating the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.
So you can bet the Browns’ initial reaction might be something akin to “No way we’re trading Kareem Hunt.”
But perhaps the Browns come around if Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, who this offseason traded for receiver A.J. Brown when the Tennessee Titans didn’t wish to pay the receiver his asking price, offers value for Hunt.
Because, after all, we all understand the Browns are saying they’re full steam ahead on having a great season while Watson misses 11 games, but there’s zero certainty in that.
There is certainty, however, in the team wanting to get back some draft capital for the next couple of years because it gave up a ton in acquiring Watson. No, not saying the Browns could get a high-round pick for Hunt, but something.
It’s possible Cleveland keeps Hunt and unless they give him a new contract they lose him in free agency and get nothing in return. So some return now might be attractive.
And why do the Eagles — or at least all their fans — value the idea of adding Hunt?
(Aside from making that playoff run mentioned previously).
Hunt is an apparent upgrade over Miles Sanders, the club’s leading rusher. If the Eagles trade Sanders for Hunt straight up, the Eagles gain the more accomplished player.
Sanders, you should understand, is also playing this season on the final year of his contract.
The Eagles could swap running backs or add Hunt to the stable, in addition to Sanders. That would be another move that accomplishes their stated offseason goal of adding more weapons for quarterback Jalen Hurts.
One more thing: There are cap issues to manage.
Trading Hunt would clear $6.25 million off Cleveland’s salary cap. The Eagles, on the other hand, would have to make this move without believing they’re renting Hunt because his cap value would travel and they only have approximately $8 million in cap space now.
One way to lower Kareem Hunt’s cap hit? Sign him to that extension he really wants.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero