After the Cleveland Browns signed Kareem Hunt, trade rumors swirled around Duke Johnson, and he is reportedly receiving plenty of trade interest already.
The Cleveland Browns are reportedly receiving plenty of trade inquiries surrounding running back Duke Johnson, according to a report from Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot.
Cabot reports that there have been multiple teams that have already called the Browns about the availability of Johnson and even more teams could emerge with interest.
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At least three NFL teams are currently believed to be interested in trading for Johnson, but more will likely surface if they believe the Browns are serious about it. – Mary Kay Cabot
Johnson had the worst season of his career in 2018, mostly because he was not getting the touches he received in the first three seasons of his career. Last season, the 25-year-old rushed for 201 yards and no touchdowns on 40 carries.
However, Johnson’s value comes from his ability in the passing attack. In 2017, Johnson led the Browns in receiving yards, posting 693 yards on 74 receptions. But in 2018, Johnson’s role in the passing game diminished, catching only 47 passes for 429 yards.
Cabot reports that Johnson was extremely frustrated with his lack of touches, although he never publicly stated his frustrations. And after the Browns signed Hunt this off-season, it does not seem likely that Johnson will see an increase in touches in 2019.
Even though the Browns did sign Hunt and he is expected to have a big role in the offense, the Browns may not be able to play Hunt for a large portion of the season. The NFL has yet to announce the length of potential suspension for Hunt after investigating multiple off-field incidents surrounding the running back.
Because the Browns do not know how long they will be without Hunt, it would make sense to hold on to Johnson as an insurance policy. If Chubb is injured at the beginning of the season, the Browns would need Johnson to handle the starting running back workload because of Hunt’s suspension.
The uncertainty surrounding Hunt has made the Browns cautious about trading Johnson, according to Cabot. However, she said that if the Browns receive the “right offer,” then the Browns will trade Johnson.
With free agency just one week away, expect more rumors surrounding Johnson to emerge. And the Browns could become even more motivated to move Johnson once they know the status of Hunt for 2019.