Duke Johnson Trade: Browns Move on From RB

Getty Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr.

The Cleveland Browns have moved on from running back Duke Johnson on Thursday as they’ve finally come to terms on a trade to move the disgruntled running back. When all was said and done, it was the Houston Texans who emerged. The trade comes just as the preseason is slated to kick off with 11 games on Thursday night.

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed the details of the trade feature a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2020 heading to the Browns. The selection can potentially become a third-rounder.

According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, the trade was negotiated by Browns general manager John Dorsey and Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. Houston is still without a GM so their coach stepped in with his team of personnel.

O’Brien and company did a great job adding depth at a key position of need with Johnson, specifically after the Texans parted ways with D’Onta Foreman previously.

Duke Johnson’s Days With Browns Were Numbered

Johnson was expected to be moved in recent weeks following the running back’s request for a trade. After the Browns added Kareem Hunt to pair with Nick Chubb in the backfield, it created a situation in which the dual-threat back could have a tough time finding touches during the 2019 season.

Although Hunt is currently set to serve a suspension, the Browns have their clear-cut starter in Chubb and Johnson’s role was likely going to diminish drastically during the second half of the upcoming season. Now, he’ll get a fresh start with a new team where he’s bound to see a decent workload.

Duke Johnson’s NFL Career & Stats

Johnson has been a multi-purpose running back since the beginning of his career in the NFL. He was selected by the Browns in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft by Cleveland.

His rookie campaign was solid as he showed glimpses of upside. He had 104 rushing attempts for 379 yards and no touchdowns but surprised the league with his 61 receptions for 534 yards and two touchdowns. Cleveland fans had high hopes for the running back, who spent his collegiate career with the Miami Hurricanes.

The rest of his career was four-year career was more of the same. Perhaps his best season came in 2017 when he had 82 rushes for a pedestrian 348 yards but tacked on four rushing touchdowns. He also contributed with 74 receptions, 693 yards and three touchdowns. It looked as though he was primed to continue with a big season in 2018, but that was not the case.

Johnson rushed for 201 yards and no touchdowns last season. However, his skills as a pass-catcher were utilized more in a role as a third-down back. He had 47 receptions for 429 yards and three touchdowns. It looked like he would be the odd man out after the team’s recent moves, but the trade resolves that situation for Johnson.

The Texans were on the hunt for depth at running back and they found one of the best options available via trade. Johnson saw his usage decline last season with the Browns but with a Texans backfield lacking playmakers, he will likely see his fair share of game reps in 2019.

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