Duke Johnson’s long-standing wish to be traded by the Cleveland Browns finally was granted Thursday.
The running back was dealt to the Houston Texans for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft. The pick would become a third-rounder if Johnson is active for at least 10 games, per multiple reports.
Johnson participated in minicamp and reporting to training camp on time but stood by his request for the Browns to trade him. The ask did not sit well with the leaders of the franchise, including quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Freddie Kitchens.
“He wants to be traded. I want to win the lottery. It doesn’t matter,” Kitchens said. “He’s under contract. He’s a Cleveland Brown. He’s going to be used to the best of his ability in what benefits the team.” Johnson is a versatile back in the mold of a traditional third-down receiving threat. The Texans thinned their running back ranks earlier this week by placing D’Onta Foreman on waivers. The franchise is operating without a general manager since parting with Brian Gaine in June.
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Cleveland GM John Dorsey informed Johnson that Nick Chubb will be the starter in 2019 for the Browns, who also signed former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt in February. Hunt must serve a suspension connected to a video showing him shove and kick a woman last year while he was a member of the Chiefs.
“I understand the nature of the business. I understand John Dorsey’s job is to do what’s best for the team and the organization. If that’s getting rid of me for a bigger piece and a better piece, then I’m OK with it,” Johnson said earlier this summer. “Like I said before, my trade request was to meet them at a middle ground.”
The 25-year-old Johnson, Cleveland’s third-round pick in 2015, spent four seasons with the Browns. He totaled 3,456 yards from scrimmage along with eight receiving and five rushing touchdowns.
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