How the Duke Johnson Trade Added to Browns Bright Future

Duke Johnson Dallas Cowboys trade

Getty Duke Johnson

The Cleveland Browns are entering a season loaded with sky-high expectations thanks to some savvy roster moves and good drafting. But the future for the team is bright well beyond this season.

The team parted ways with running back Duke Johnson Jr. on Thursday, shipping him to the Houston Texans for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft that can become a third-round selection if he plays in 10 games.

It was a huge return for the Browns, who now have 10 picks in next year’s draft. They have all seven of their picks, as well as extra sixth and seventh round choice on top of the return from the Johnson trade.

The Return For Duke Johnson Was Massive For Browns

It was expected that Johnson would be moved, but the value the Browns got for essentially their third-down back was mind-boggling.

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The pick was the highest return for a running back since 2013, when the Browns fleeced the Colts for a first-round pick in exchange for Trent Richardson.

  • 2019: Eagles trade a sixth-round pick for Chicago’s Jordan Howard
  • 2018: Browns get a fifth-round pick from Jacksonville in return for Carlos Hyde
  • 2017: Oakland gets Marshawn Lynch from Seattle for a sixth-round pick
  • 2016: Tennessee trades a sixth-round pick for Eagles back DeMarco Murray
  • 2015: Bills acquire LeSean McCoy for linebacker Kiko Alonso
  • 2014: Eagles trade for Saints’ RB Darren Sproles in exchange for a fifth-round pick
  • 2013: Browns send Trent Richardson to Colts for first-round pick

Johnson joined the Browns as a third-round pick in 2015. He appeared in 64 games with 10 starts. He registered 1,286 rushing yards and 2,170 receiving yards on 235 receptions with 13 total touchdowns.

Last season, Johnson had 47 receptions for 429 yards and three touchdowns. He had just 40 carries for 201 yards on the ground. Both his number of carries and catches were career lows.

Greedy Williams is Latest Find for Browns in NFL Draft

The Browns traded up to pick corner Greedy Williams in the second round of this year’s draft and it appears to be a move that is going to pay huge dividends.

Williams has his eyes on a starting job opposite of fellow young-gun corner Denzel Ward, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie a year ago.


At one time in the draft process, Williams projected a top 5 pick. However, the LSU standout eventually fell into the second round, where the Browns could swoop him up.

One of the major knocks on Williams in the draft was his unwillingness to make contact and tackle. However, Browns general manager John Dorsey did not sound one bit concerned about the issue following the draft.

“I have no problem with his tackling,” Dorsey said. “He’ll get you down. Corners are paid to cover.”

On the first unofficial depth chart released, Williams is still behind veteran Terrane Mitchell. The preseason will be big for Williams to prove that he can cover, tackle and hang at the NFL level.

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