5 Looming decisions for Cleveland Browns ahead of 2019 season
2. What about Duke?
One of the bigger questions concerning the Browns this entire offseason is about running back Duke Johnson. After hearing his name brought up in trade speculation, Johnson felt unwanted by the team that drafted him back in 2015 and then gave him a contract extension this past season.
That led to Johnson sitting out of OTAs and then requesting a trade himself. This led to some issues as Duke was called out by Baker Mayfield and then his agent’s husband went off on the quarterback via social media. All that has blown over, but Johnson still would like to play elsewhere and even parted with his agent and then hired Drew Rosenhaus to help him get traded.
More from Browns News
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
"“Rosenhaus, hired by Johnson on July 11th to help get him traded, flew to Cleveland on Tuesday morning [July 23] to meet with Dorsey at the Browns’ facility, a league source told cleveland.com.” — Mary Kay Cabot, Cleveland.com"
Cleveland has been reluctant to move Johnson, who is again missing time with a hamstring injury. In his absence, Dontrell Hilliard has been making plenty of plays which could lead to the Browns changing their stance.
Originally, they wanted to keep Johnson as an insurance policy for the eight-game suspension Kareem Hunt will serve. With him not eligible to play, Johnson was the only running back behind Nick Chubb to offer much experience. They may not be as worried about that should Hilliard make them feel confident in his abilities.
Either way, they need to figure out what to do with Duke. He’s a solid backup but could keeping him on the roster be a distraction? Johnson’s desire to play elsewhere makes sense. He wants to be more than a guy who is there while Hunt is suspended. Duke wants to play and with him playing a position that already has a short shelf life, it makes sense that he wouldn’t want there to be a wasted season. The only question is what Cleveland will end up doing.