David Johnson

Houston Texans
Running Back #31
Houston Texans
Running Back #31
Photo: Icon Sportswire

David Johnson News

Facing veteran competition

Johnson is joined in the Houston backfield by fellow veterans Phillip Lindsay, Mark Ingram and Rex Burkhead, ESPN.com's Sarah Barshop reports.

Analysis: Johnson, Lindsay and Ingram all have experience in lead roles, while Burkhead is a versatile reserve who has never taken more than 74 carries in a season. Johnson was mediocre for the Texans last year, but he remains the favorite to lead their backfield in 2021, in part due to a $4.25 million guarantee on his $6 million salary. Lindsay, Ingram and Burkhead all settled for smaller deals this offseason, with the latter two potentially even forced to battle for roster spots this summer. Johnson's place on the team should be safe, but it's possible he ends up splitting carries in what could be a bottom-five offense (if Deshaun Watson isn't available to play). There's also some chance Johnson ends up in a three-down role, which could lead to fantasy value even if he's inefficient and doesn't have too many TD opportunities.

Jul 7, 2021 12:31 PM EST

Agrees to reduce salary

Johnson has agreed to restructure his contract, which now will have $4.25 million guaranteed out of a potential $6 million in 2021 compensation, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Prior to the new arrangement, Johnson was scheduled for a $7.95 million base salary, including $2.1 million guaranteed. The first number goes down and the second up, with player and team reaching an agreement to keep Johnson in Houston for the final year of his lucrative contract. Now that that's settled, the Texans can figure out the rest of their roster, starting with the tumultuous Deshaun Watson situation. Johnson's team context will go from bad to worse if the Texans don't have the star QB under center.

Mar 2, 2021 12:09 PM EST

Still wanted by Houston

The Texans hope to retain Johnson for 2021, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: Johnson put together a fairly solid inaugural campaign in Houston, with 1,005 scrimmage yards and eight total touchdowns, but he was also limited to 12 appearances due to injuries. The 29-year-old carries an $8.8 million cap hit for 2021, per Spotrac.com, a figure which Wilson notes the Texans want to bring down. Johnson only carries a $2.1 million dead cap figure, so if he's unwilling to agree on a restructured contract the team could cut him without much penalty, as happened to former backfield mate Duke Johnson on Friday. Agreeing to terms on a deal that would help him to stick around could be beneficial for Johnson, as he seems to have a clear path to a large workload in Houston but wouldn't be guaranteed that on the open market.

Feb 26, 2021 10:18 AM EST

Ends season on high note

Johnson carried the ball 14 times for 84 yards and a touchdown and caught three of five targets for 36 yards in Sunday's 41-38 loss to the Titans.

Analysis: While the circumstances of his arrival in Houston, as part of Bill O'Brien's last ill-advised trade, were less than ideal, Johnson put together a solid 2020 campaign when he was healthy, amassing 1,005 scrimmage yards and eight TDs (six rushing, two receiving) in 12 games. With one more season left on his current contract, Johnson could well find himself back with the Texans next year, but he would also carry a small dead cap hit of $2.1 million if the team's new regime decides to move in a different direction in the backfield.

Jan 3, 2021 7:38 PM EST

Another remarkable effort in loss

Johnson rushed 12 times for 128 yards and a touchdown and secured all three of his targets for 11 yards and another score in the Texans' 37-31 loss to the Bengals on Sunday.

Analysis: A week after racking up 11 receptions in a loss to the Colts, Johnson stood out for his work on the ground Sunday with a highly efficient performance highlighted by a 48-yard run. Johnson had yet to cross the 100-yard mark as a Texan until Sunday, and his receiving touchdown was his first since Week 7. Johnson will look to put together another strong game to cap off his first season in Houston with against the vulnerable Titans defense in the Week 17 finale.

Dec 27, 2020 1:54 PM EST

Heavily utilized as receiver

Johnson carried the ball eight times for 27 yards in Week 15 against the Colts. He added 11 receptions for 106 yards as a receiver.

Analysis: Johnson returned from a one-game absence and had a huge role in the backfield with both Duke Johnson (neck) and C.J. Prosise (ankle) inactive. While he was mostly held in check as a runner, he was a regular checkdown option for Deshaun Watson as a receiver. Most of his production came as a result of volume, though he did turn in receptions of 31 and 26 yards to highlight his effort. Johnson could be in line for big volume once again in Week 16 against Cincinnati if the team's backfield remains shorthanded.

Dec 20, 2020 2:00 PM EST

Logs full practice

Johnson (not injury-related) practiced fully Thursday.

Analysis: While he appears on track to suit up Sunday against the Colts, both Duke Johnson (neck) and C.J. Prosise (ankle) sat out Thursday's session. With Houston's backfield depth options in Week 15 unclear at this stage, it looks like David Johnson is poised to reclaim his role as the team's lead back versus Indy.

Dec 17, 2020 2:05 PM EST

Back from COVID-19 list

The Texans activated Johnson (undisclosed) from the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: Johnson was forced to sit out last weekend's game against the Bears, but he'll be eligible to return to action in Indianapolis on Sunday. He figures to handle starting reps out of the backfield, as per usual, but it's worth keeping in mind that Johnson has only surpassed 50 rushing yards four times this season.

Dec 16, 2020 2:09 PM EST

Returns to team

Johnson (undisclosed) is "back in the building" after landing on the reserve-COVID-19 list as close contact, but the running back won't practice Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: While the report notes that Johnson didn't test positive for COVID-19, the team is choosing to ease him back into the mix due to the time he missed. Johnson should therefore be officially removed from the reserve-COVID-19 list soon and presumably could return to practice Thursday, as the Texans continue their preparations for Sunday's game against the Colts.

Dec 16, 2020 8:50 AM EST

Expected back next week

Interim coach Romeo Crennel relayed that Johnson landed on the COVID-19 list as a close contact and is expected to return to action in Week 15, Aaron Reiss of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: In his absence in Sunday's 36-7 loss to the Bears, Duke Johnson, Buddy Howell and C.J. Prosise handled Houston's RB duties. None of the trio did enough to supplant David Johnson as the team's starter and assuming he's activated in the coming days, he should head the team's backfield next weekend against the Colts.

Dec 13, 2020 2:00 PM EST

Lands on COVID-19 list

Johnson (illness) has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Analysis: The running back is thus in line to miss Sunday's game against the Bears, which sets the stage for Duke Johnson to head the Texans' Week 14 backfield.

Dec 11, 2020 1:06 PM EST

May miss Week 14

Interim head coach Romeo Crennel said Friday that there's "a possibility" Johnson (personal) won't be available for Sunday's game against the Bears, Drew Dougherty of the Texans' official site reports.

Analysis: Johnson missed Thursday's practice due to a personal issue, and it sounds like another missed session Friday would jeopardize his status for Week 14. Given the undisclosed nature of Johnson's absence, it's difficult to estimate when a final call on his availability will arrive. If he were to indeed miss Sunday's game against the Bears, Duke Johnson would stand to start out of the backfield.

Dec 11, 2020 8:39 AM EST

Role set to expand

Texans interim head coach hinted that Johnson would see an expanded role on offense in Sunday's game against the Bears, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. " He had a couple of nice runs in the [Texans' Week 13 loss to the Colts] and I think that next week, he'll probably have more [snaps] than he had this week," Crennel said of Johnson. "I think he's still a good football player for us."

Analysis: Back in action after missing the previous three games with a concussion, Johnson was limited to a 58 percent snap share against Indianapolis, representing his second-lightest usage rate for any game this season that he finished healthy. Crennel suggested that he wanted to ease Johnson back in after a nearly month-long absence, but the 28-year-old now looks primed to see his involvement grow after coming out of the Week 13 contest healthy. In addition to likely picking up double-digit carries against Chicago, Johnson could become an even more prominent option in the passing game than he had been prior to missing time with the concussion. In the past few weeks, the Texans have waived Kenny Stills, lost Will Fuller to suspension and lost Randall Cobb (toe) to injured reserve, leaving Deshaun Watson with fewer reliable targets at his disposal.

Dec 8, 2020 12:56 PM EST

Finds end zone in return

Johnson (concussion) carried 10 times for 44 yards and a touchdown while failing to bring in either of his two targets during Sunday's 26-20 loss to the Colts.

Analysis: Making his return from a three-game absence, Johnson managed 4.4 yards per carry against a tough defensive unit and scored a six-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. He was hardly a factor in the passing game but it is probable that the team intended to ease him back into the lineup while letting Duke Johnson handle that department. Assuming Johnson emerges without any setbacks, he should be in line to handle a larger load next Sunday against the Bears.

Dec 6, 2020 1:39 PM EST

Set to play Sunday

Johnson (concussion) was activated off injured reserve Saturday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: This is hardly surprising considering Johnson is expected to play in Sunday's divisional contest with the Colts. The suspension of Will Fuller could open the door for Duke Johnson, who operated as the main bellcow in David Johnson's three game absence, to be a marginal factor in the passing game, but expect the former Cardinals back to reassert himself as the team's primary option out of the backfield once more.

Dec 5, 2020 9:16 AM EST

On track to play Sunday

Johnson (concussion) is on track to play Sunday against the Colts, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: Johnson will need to be activated from IR before returning, but that is expected to happen barring a setback. He was operating as Houston's lead back prior to sustaining his concussion in Week 9, and David's return would push Duke Johnson back to a change-of-pace role against Indianapolis.

Dec 4, 2020 10:07 AM EST

Making good progress

Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly suggested that Johnson (concussion) has looked good since rejoining the team for practice Wednesday, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. "He's done a good job. Look forward to working him back in the mix," Kelly said of Johnson.

Analysis: Kelly didn't go as far as saying that Johnson would be reinstated from injured reserve ahead of Sunday's game against the Colts, but the 28-year-old is seemingly on track to be added back to the 53-man roster. A decision on Johnson's Week 13 status will likely hinge on him clearing the NFL's five-step concussion protocol, though his involvement in practice would seemingly imply that he merely needs to get approval from an independent neurologist in order to play. If activated this weekend, Johnson would likely reclaim duties as Houston's lead back, relegating Duke Johnson to a change-of-pace role.

Dec 3, 2020 2:14 PM EST

Designated to return from IR

Johnson (concussion) has been designated to return from IR, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Analysis: With that, Johnson's 21-day practice window has started. If the running back is cleared to play in time for Sunday's game against the Colts, he'd presumably reclaim his role as Houston's top back, while Duke Johnson would move back into his prior complementary/change-of-pace role.

Dec 2, 2020 2:30 PM EST

Lands on IR

Johnson (concussion) has been placed on injured reserve, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

Analysis: Johnson will now be sidelined a minimum of three weeks. His absence means that Duke Johnson will be the team's lead back for the immediate future. The 28-year-old will now focus on his recovery. His next chance to potentially return will be Dec. 6 against the Colts.

Nov 14, 2020 11:19 AM EST

Ruled out this week

Johnson (concussion) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Browns.

Analysis: The running back wasn't able to practice all week and will thus target a potential return to action in Week 11 versus the Patriots. In his absence this Sunday, Duke Johnson is in line to head the Texans' running attack.

Nov 13, 2020 1:37 PM EST

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