We’ve traded Duke Johnson Jr. to the Houston Texans
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 8, 2019
Johnson has wanted out of Cleveland since the offseason following the signing of Kareem Hunt. The Browns will receive a conditional fourth round draft pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The #Browns got a fourth-rounder that can become a third rounder for Duke Johnson. If it does become a third, I believe it will be the highest RB compensation since Trent Richardson went for a first.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 8, 2019
The deal makes sense for both teams. Johnson wanted out of Cleveland since he won’t get a lot of carries behind Nick Chubb and Hunt once Kareem returns from his eight game suspension. The coaching staff is also pleased at how Dontrell Hilliard has looked in camp.
Johnson has also been sidelined with a hamstring injury. It’s likely another way to get himself out of Cleveland.
“Do not question Duke’s professionalism,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said. “Duke had a pulled hamstring. As an organization, you do not want him come back on a pulled hamstring and he pulls it again he is out for a month. We were trying to get him ready for the season. We were not trying to get him ready to play tonight. I would not question Duke’s professionalism if I were you.”
“That is obviously not my call. We talked about it,” Baker Mayfield said. “They wanted people who wanted to be there, and Duke was there. Unfortunately, he got hurt and then the decision was made to trade him away. We have to have the next man up mentality so tonight you saw a lot of Dontrell Hilliard. We are going to be counting on guys that continue to step up and see who can fill the void because Duke was obviously a huge part of our offense last year.”
The Texans have a need for a running back. Houston released D’Onta Foreman this week. Currently Lamar Miller is the number one running back for the Texans. Johnson can be a serviceable back up both running the football and as another pass catching option for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
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.