The Cleveland Browns have traded running back Duke Johnson to the Houston Texans for an undisclosed draft pick in 2020. According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal, it is currently a fourth-round pick that can be turned into a third-round one.
This means that Houston will be eating Johnson’s 3-year, $15.6 million contract. According to Spotrac, his pay for the 2019 season will be $1.8 million with a $750,000 signing bonus, $400,000 roster bonus and $100,000 workout bonus. He accounts for a cap hit of $3,050,000.
That salary will double in 2020 and top out in 2021 at $4.65 million. Outside of the financial commitment, the Texans are receiving an established backup for Lamar Miller. Johnson has totaled 1,286 rushing yards and five touchdowns, as well as 2,170 receiving yards and eight scores in his 4-year career.
Texans RB Depth Chart After Duke Johnson Trade
Miller is still expected to be the starter for the Texans. He is coming off a 973-yard season, where he notched five rushing scores and an additional receiving one. Since turning pro in 2012, the 28-year-old has accumulated 5,864 yards on the ground and 1,565 through the air.
Johnson is an immediate boost as a backup. Before he joined, the other options in the backfield were Buddy Howell and Josh Ferguson. The former didn’t touch the ball in his rookie season last year, but did tally nine tackles on special teams. Ferguson, meanwhile, has just 25 yards on the ground to show for two seasons with the Colts in 2016 and 2017.
With Johnson’s ability to grind out yards between the tackles, as well as move the chains as a pass-catcher, he immediately becomes a third-down back option.
Browns Running Back Depth Chart After Duke Johnson Trade
Cleveland will have to rely on Nick Chubb in the first half of the season. The former Georgia Bulldog nearly eclipsed 1,000 yards in his rookie season, falling just four short. He also added eight touchdowns, establishing himself as the chain-mover on a wide-open offense led by Baker Mayfield.
The reason Chubb will be the bell-cow for the Browns is that his backup Kareem Hunt will sit the first eight games of the regular season. The NFL suspended him for a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, which involved an altercation with a woman at a Cleveland bar in Feb. 2018.
Should he come back ready to play, he is an asset in and out of the backfield. He has posted 2,151 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in just two seasons, as well as 833 receiving yards and 10 scores. That was with Kansas City and quarterback Patrick Mahomes last year, so he should feel at home with the pass-happy spread look of Mayfield.
For now, though, Chubb will see the vast majority of the carries. Behind him is Dontrell Hilliard, who had just 105 yards on nine carries in his rookie campaign last season.