Kareem Hunt’s “pay me or trade me” stance problematic in multiple ways

The Cleveland Browns have had their fair share of drama this offseason, most of it under their own steam around the quarterback position. Former starter Baker Mayfield wanted a trade after finding out the team was visiting Houston. Even before QB Deshaun Watson agreed to come to Cleveland, Mayfield was done with the team.
Watson's situation is well known at this point. Anything but the ultimate outcome, whether through an NFL appeal or a federal lawsuit.
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In the NFL, some players have addressed their contract demands to the team through a version of a "hold-in." Instead of staying away from the team, which is now mostly non-existent for contract players, players show up for mandatory activities but don't participate. WR D.K. Metcalf, for example, did this before he got his contract.
For the Browns, RB Kareem Hunt has added to the drama with multiple reports, first from Josina Anderson, that he wants a new contract or is being traded. This report was also saved locally:
Earlier this off-season
Hunt's desire for a new contract is not new. He spoke about that desire earlier this offseason, but appeared to refer to it as a desire or a dream, not an expectation.
The change now is that Hunt appears to be expecting or being traded for a new contract, rather than just hoping to stay with his hometown team. Hunt has even had members of the organization available for his charity events for the past two years, including the general manager this summer.
The timing is less than ideal
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Although we have over a month until the start of the regular season, the timing of this decision is far from ideal. The teams have already allocated their financial and design resources in a variety of ways. An injury or a desperate team could change things, but Cleveland also planned to have Hunt.
In fact, several times we've seen different offensive sets featuring both Nick Chubb and Hunt in the backfield.
Not doing team drills for over a week in training camp is poor planning and bad timing on the part of Hunt from the outside. Perhaps Hunt and his agents believed this would put the Browns in a difficult position, but still, it's not appropriate timing to start the process.
Finances
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately, finances play a role quite often in the NFL. Despite plenty of cap space this year, Cleveland's cap obligations are increasing significantly next year. The team also signed on Chubb as their return leader.
Very little has changed since this was written earlier in the off-season:
Chubb's salary cap increased from just over $5 million in '22 to just under $15 million in '23. Unless Deshaun Watson is suspended for the entirety of season 22, his cap hit rises to $44 million.
With Jadeveon Clowney, Greedy Williams, Anthony Walker Jr. and others hitting free agency late in the year, Cleveland may need to reallocate resources to other positions after this season.
Hunt is currently the highest-paid backup running back and is in the top 15 annual paybacks. An extension would probably be just as expensive or more promising.
The story goes on

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