Appearing on the Ronnie and TKras show on 95.3 WDAE, NFL analyst Ian Rapoport said that he would expect the Bucs to inquire about signing former Pro Bowl running back Kareem Hunt, along with many other NFL teams.
Rapoport followed up by saying that it will ultimately come down to whether or not the owners of the team, the Glazer family, would be willing to take a chance on the running back who is facing a suspension.
“I would expect teams like the Bucs with big time running back needs and the propensity to make a splash in free agency to be linked to him,” Rapoport said. “These decisions to bring a guy like Kareem Hunt in are made by the owner. That’s where it comes down to it, do the Glazers say: ‘We are okay having this guy in the building, given what he has basically been proven to have done.'”
Bucs ownership and front office have stuck by their players with controversial off the field issues in the past. This includes as recently as last season when quarterback Jameis Winston was suspended three games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy by inappropriately touching a female Uber driver in 2016.
While the decision will come from the owners, head coach Bruce Arians has shown the propensity to give second chances. He gave safety Tyrann Mathieu an opportunity when the Cardinals drafted him in the third round of the 2013 draft, despite being dismissed from LSU for failing multiple drug tests.
The Bucs currently have Ronald Jones on their depth chart at running back, with Peyton Barber as a restricted free agent, and Jacquizz Rodgers an unrestricted free agent. Jones had a disappointing rookie season, rushing for 44 yards on the year, averaging 1.9 yards per attempt, and scoring one touchdown.
Hunt was on caught on video where he shoving and kicking a female at a hotel last offseason. No suspension has been handed down yet, but according to Rapoport, Hunt looks to be facing anywhere from a six to 10 game suspension.