Duke Johnson wants out of Cleveland and it may be the best for all parties involved for the Browns to move in a different direction.
It has been quite some time since Duke Johnson requested a trade. All reports indicate that the Cleveland Browns are not interested in moving the veteran running back. However it may be best for both parties to go in separate directions.
John Dorsey has stated several times that the team will not trade Duke Johnson. Even so the team should at least entertain the thought. Johnson is obviously not happy since he asked to be traded. The addition of Kareem Hunt and the emergence of Nick Chubb will obviously eat away at any playing time and future earning potential. It is not all that surprising that Johnson wants out, especially considering how highly many think of Johnson.
Duke Johnson is an incredibly talented running back who has shown flashes of being a game changer in the NFL. Johnson is filled with potential and in the right system that potential could be unlocked. The problem is that the Browns are not in a spot currently to bank on potential. Cleveland needs players who can make an impact now, not hopeful impact later.
Johnson’s workload has been inconsistent and varies by the year. It is almost an up and down pattern.
2015: 104 rushing attempts 379 yards, 61 receptions 534 receiving yards
2016: 73 rushing attempts 358 yards, 53 receptions 514 receiving yards
2017: 82 rushing attempts 348 yards, 74 receptions 793 receiving yards
2018: 40 rushing attempts 201 yards, 47 receptions 429 receiving yards
There have been times where Duke Johnson has shown promise as a running back. It is also worth noting that Johnson’s more productive years came during some pretty poor seasons for the Browns. Cleveland went 4-44 during the best seasons from Johnson. Johnson’s least productive year came during a 7-8-1 campaign for Cleveland. This may be just a coincidence, but it is worth noting.
Cleveland is going to have find a replacement for Duke Johnson. Considering his relatively modest workload his replacement will not be relied on for a whole lot. Nick Chubb will handle the majority of the duties at running back and Kareem Hunt should return midseason. At that point the amount of playing time for Johnson may be near non-existent. Johnson is essentially being edged out. He may be able to find more playing time and a better situation for him elsewhere. The Browns should move on now before an unhappy player becomes an issue in a locker room that finally appears to be good culture-wise.