Loser: Running Back Duke Johnson
It is obvious running back Duke Johnson does not want to be a Cleveland Brown any longer, as he has not been in attendance for any part of the Browns’ offseason program. The Browns have said they hoped they would have seen Johnson at this point, but the running back skipped all of Cleveland’s OTA’s.
After requesting a trade this offseason, it is not surprising that Johnson has not been with the team so far. But his absence from the team has allowed players to step up with increased reps and take advantage of Johnson being gone.
That one player has been Dontrell Hilliard, who has received incredibly positive reviews from the Browns coaching staff. And Hilliard is receiving praise for what he is able to do in the passing game, as well as what he can do as a runner. He is striving in the role that Johnson has left open this offseason.
Johnson may feel his abilities make him a play-maker that teams need to have. However, Hilliard is quickly showing that there are other options to fill Johnson’s role as well as Johnson can.
Based on how long the Browns have held onto Johnson despite both sides seemingly wanting a trade, there does not appear to be much interest around the league for Johnson’s services.
If the Browns are unable to find a suitable trade for Johnson, there is a chance he could have an even smaller role with the team in 2019 after Hillliard’s emergence. But with the lack of interest in Johnson, it seems that not many other teams have a major role to fill with Johnson.