The Indianapolis Colts reportedly have been in contract with free agent running backs Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette.
Indianapolis is currently without former All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor, as he will miss the first four games of the team’s season after being placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
“With several injuries at running back, the Colts are still monitoring the market,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote. “They’ve been in touch with free agents Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette. That’s a position to watch in Indy as the Colts cycle through options.”
Even when Taylor is eligible to come back, there is no guarantee that he plays for Indy since he and the franchise have not seen eye to eye on a new contract extension. The Colts gave Taylor permission to seek a trade prior to the start of the regular season.
For now, the Colts are operating with Deon Jackson, Zack Moss, Evan Hull and Jake Funk in their backfield. The team could be looking for a veteran option like Hunt or Fournette since Hull was placed on injured reserve following the team’s Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Indianapolis really struggled running the ball against Jacksonville in Week 1.
Jackson finished with 13 carries for just 14 yards while Hull’s lone carry went for just one yard. The most effective back was Funk (two carries for 10 yards). The running backs combined for just 25 yards on 16 touches – an average of less than two yards per carry.
The best runner for the Colts in Week 1 was rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who finished the game with 10 carries for 40 yards and one touchdown.
There’s no doubt that the Colts miss Taylor in this offense, but adding Hunt or Fournette could help fix the issue. Plus, Moss – who missed Week 1 with a forearm injury – may be able to return for Week 2.
A former third-round pick, Hunt has played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns in his NFL career. Last season with Cleveland, he totaled 468 rushing yards and 210 receiving yards in 17 games playing alongside star running back Nick Chubb.
Hunt scored four total touchdowns last season, but he also averaged the fewest yards per carry of his career (3.8).
As for Fournette, who was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, he spent the last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In the 2022 season, Fournette carried the ball 189 times for 668 yards (3.5 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
The veteran running back also added 73 receptions for an additional 523 yards and three scores.
Both Hunt and Fournette have proven track records in the NFL, so they could make sense for the Colts if the team doesn’t expect Taylor to play for the franchise in the 2023 season.