BEREA, Ohio – Over the past two days, the Browns’ teams had lost a massive practice run to Karim Hunt and off-court catch before scurrying through potential interference attempts.
A league source confirmed to Cleveland.com that this is because Hunt has refrained from anything but one-on-one drills prior to training in a contract dispute.
Josina Andersen of CBS Sports first reported on Hunt’s strategy in practice.
Hunt’s agent, Dan Saffron, attended Brown’s training camp this week to support his client and to talk about matters with Brown’s management.
Brown, who would fine Hunt for skipping team training, had planned to let him play in the season and then reconsider his expired contract afterwards. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, Hunt may request that he be traded, or Brown may release him.
With the final year of a two-year extension paying him as much as $6.25 million annually, Hunt told Al Brown in the spring that he wanted the extension and that he wanted to end his career with his hometown team, as first reported by cleveland.com.
He admitted at the time that he didn’t know if the team felt the same.
“We’ll see what they want to do with me,” he said at the time. “I don’t know what to think now.”
Hunt’s problem is that he has little leverage. Browns love his game, but they have an excess of running behind superstar Nick Chap, including D’Ernest Johnson, rookie Jerome Ford and Dmitrik Felton.
The Browns planned to use Hunt and Chubb together occasionally in the background this season, but they have other multi-purpose backs that can handle some of the Hunts’ chores.
Hunt’s contract also lends itself to Brown being able to break up with him if they can’t solve the problem. He earned a base salary of $1,350 million, and earned an outstanding bonus of $1.5 million. His contract balance comes in the form of $200,000 for each game he activates, up to $3.4 million. Since none of these bonuses are guaranteed per game, Brown wouldn’t come out much if they let him go now.
Of course, they would prefer to get something for him if the two sides reached an impasse, which seems likely at this time. With his contract brimming with incentives, Hunt could be attractive to a team that needs to dip right now or suffer a center injury between now and the trade deadline.
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