The Browns are shopping running back Duke Johnson, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Cleveland extended Johnson just last year, but after Nick Chubb performed admirably in his rookie campaign, and after the club acquired the troubled but uber-talented Kareem Hunt in February, it seems that Johnson may be on the outs.
We heard earlier this month that three teams had inquired on Johnson’s availability, and although the Browns publicly said they were committed to the Miami product — and that they were going to keep him at running back rather than move him to wideout to take advantage of his receiving talents — it appears they are willing to deal him for the right price. Speculatively, that could mean that the team is optimistic that Hunt will be eligible to play sooner rather than later.
Although Johnson is coming off something of a down year, it is clear that he can be very dangerous when utilized correctly. He has averaged 4.3 yards per carry in his four-year career (including a career-high 5.0 yards per tote in 2018), and he is averaging nearly 60 catches per season.
But the splashy acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. means that Jarvis Landry will be spending even more time in the slot, further reducing Johnson’s role as a pass-catcher. The Browns are in no hurry to move Johnson, as he still has value even in a stacked offense, and he is set to carry a fairly modest cap number of $3.05MM. But if they get an offer they like, they are prepared to pull the trigger.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.