The Browns and running back Duke Johnson have agreed to terms on a long-term contract extension, sources tell Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a three-year addition worth $15.6MM, including $7.7MM guaranteed.
With nearly $70MM in cap space, it wasn’t difficult for the Browns to make room for Johnson’s deal. The two sides have been in talks throughout the offseason and a pact came together well in advance of the team’s mandatory minicamp.
If the deal were to start this year, Johnson would be ninth amongst all NFL running backs in terms of annual average value. When the pact kicks in next year, Johnson will probably be just outside of the top ten at his position.
Johnson, 25 in November, has averaged 4.2 yards per carry in his three NFL seasons while playing largely in a backup capacity. In 2017, the Browns often utilized him as a pass-catcher and the results were tremendous. Johnson set new career highs in catches (74) and receiving yards (693) and was a bright spot in an otherwise frustrating season for Cleveland. This year, he’ll serve as the Browns No. 2 ball carrier behind free agent addition Carlos Hyde.
Johnson was initially set to enter the final year of his rookie deal with a modest $2.084MM cap number. He has now received a significant pay bump.
In addition to Hyde and Johnson, the Browns further bolstered the running back group by drafting former Georgia standout Nick Chubb in the second round of last month’s draft.
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