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Duke Johnson

Duke Johnson

Running Back #29
Team:Cleveland
Ht / Wt:5'9" / 207 lb.
College:Miami
Age:25
Born:September 23, 1993
Drafted:2015 / Rd. 3 (77)
Draft Team:CLE

Duke Johnson: Not at OTAs

Johnson is absent from OTAs on Wednesday for a second straight day, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: A Tuesday report suggested the running back was present, but it turns out he didn't participate. He's still expected to show up for some portion of OTAs, despite the common knowledge that he's frustrated with his lack of long-term role security after the Browns signed Kareem Hunt. The team doesn't seem to have any plan of honoring Johnson's trade request, as Hunt will serve a suspension for the first eight games of the season. The backfield will start to feel awfully crowded if Johnson and Nick Chubb are both healthy and still on the team in October when Hunt is gearing up for his return. The trade deadline is Oct. 29 (after Week 8), while Hunt should be eligible to play starting with Nov. 10 against Buffalo (Week 10).

May 15, 2019 7:53 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Returns to team for OTAs

Johnson is present Tuesday for the start of OTAs, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Johnson skipped the offseason workout program and voluntary minicamp after requesting a trade earlier this offseason. He's presumably worried he won't have a role if/when Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (suspension) both are available, but the Browns seem pretty set on keeping Johnson around -- at least until Hunt has served his eight-game ban. Johnson is entering the first season of the three-year, $15.6 million extension he signed last summer; the contract shouldn't be a problem if Cleveland eventually seeks a trade.

May 14, 2019 5:29 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Staying away from team

Johnson is absent from voluntary minicamp this week, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Johnson's agent requested a trade a few weeks after the Browns signed Kareem Hunt (suspension), likely fearing the 25-year-old won't have a meaningful role in the second half of 2019 if both Hunt and Nick Chubb are available. General manager John Dorsey said last week that he still views Johnson as an important part of the offense, but Dorsey could easily change his mind if/when the backfield becomes crowded. A trade would allow both parties to avoid the awkward scenario, though Cleveland would be left with a $2.25 million dead cap charge from the three-year extension Johnson signed last June. The contract theoretically should increase his trade value, as the new team would be inheriting three years and $11.55 million of the deal, with no guarantees beyond 2019, per overthecap.com

April 24, 2019 8:51 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Endorsed by GM

General manager John Dorsey said Thursday that Johnson is seen "as a vital part of this offense moving forward," Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Rapoport also notes that there hasn't been an active trade market for Johnson since reports surfaced in early April that he demanded a trade from the team, but that presumably has more to do with a combination of Cleveland's trade demands and Johnson's sizable contract than any concerns over the running back's effectiveness. While it's possible some teams could up their offers after the draft shakes out -- or that the Browns lower their asking price if Johnson mounts a holdout come June -- it sounds like head coach Freddie Kitchens is fully counting on Johnson being available alongside Nick Chubb for Week 1 against the Titans. However, the team has offered practically zero insight on how the backfield could operate once Kareem Hunt (suspension) joins the mix for the second half of the season.

April 18, 2019 10:25 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Angling for trade

Johnson's agent has asked the Browns to trade him, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Entering the first season of a three-year, $15.6 million extension he signed last summer, Johnson has been worried about his future in Cleveland ever since Kareem Hunt (suspension) was signed in February. Hunt's eight-game suspension leaves room for both Johnson and Nick Chubb to handle significant roles early in the season, but Johnson could be the odd man out come November and December. The Texans, Jets and Eagles reportedly have shown interest in trading for the 25-year-old running back, though the latter two teams have already added productive veterans to their backfields this offseason. Johnson has played all 64 games in four NFL seasons, averaging 4.3 yards on 299 carries and 9.2 yards on 235 receptions. He finished 2018 with career-low marks for carries (40), catches (47) and targets (62), despite producing strong marks of 5.0 YPC and 9.1 YPR.

April 2, 2019 6:38 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Skipping voluntary workouts

Johnson isn't present Monday for the start of the Browns' voluntary offseason program, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Analysis: Johnson has been the subject of trade rumors ever since Cleveland signed Kareem Hunt, who will serve an eight-game suspension before he's eligible to play for his new team. Given the length of the suspension and the frequency of backfield injuries, the Browns may still have significant plans for Johnson in 2019, albeit with the possibility of a midseason trade if Nick Chubb stays healthy and Hunt is ready for the second half of the campaign. Entering the first season of a three-year, $15.6 million extension, Johnson may be frustrated with the decision to sign Hunt despite receiving some financial security last summer.

April 1, 2019 11:22 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Will be part of game plans

Coach Freddie Kitchens expects Johnson to "have a role" in the Browns offense this season, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: After the addition of Kareem Hunt on Feb. 11, questions have abounded about Johnson's status in a seemingly crowded backfield. Nick Chubb is the clear-cut No. 1 option, but the beleaguered Hunt provided a challenge to the rest of the pecking order. Since then, the NFL settled Hunt's situation, suspending him for the first eight games of the upcoming campaign. The decision paved the way for Johnson to hold onto his pass-catching gig, at least for a portion of the season. In one year of game plans created by Kitchens, Johnson hauled in 47 of his 62 targets for 429 yards and three touchdowns while tacking on 40 rushes for 201 yards. Assuming he kicks off 2019 with a similar share of the offensive snaps (42.1 percent) from a season ago, Johnson is in line for another modest (and potentially abbreviated) role.

March 27, 2019 5:46 PM EST

Duke Johnson: Drawing trade interest

At least three teams have inquired about trading for Johnson, whose future in Cleveland became murky when the team signed Kareem Hunt on Feb. 11, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: The Browns are hesitant to trade Johnson before they know the length of Hunt's upcoming suspension, but they might be swayed by a generous offer. League spokesman Brian McCarthy said he couldn't provide any timeline for an announcement, with Hunt still subject to NFL investigation more than three months after he was released by the Chiefs. Johnson signed a three-year, $15.6 million extension last offseason, but he finished the 2018 campaign with career-low marks for carries (40) and targets (62) despite maintaining his impressive per-touch efficiency. He's well established as one of the better passing-down backs in the league, and there's some reason to believe he could handle a lead role given that he's listed at 210 pounds and hasn't missed a game since his sophomore year of college.

March 4, 2019 11:59 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Could face more competition

Browns general manager John Dorsey said the signing of Kareem Hunt doesn't make Johnson expendable just yet, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: The controversial signing might eventually pose a threat to Johnson, who is entering the first season of the three-year, $15.6 million extension he signed last offseason. The Browns will want to see how long Hunt is suspended before making any decisions, but it was interesting to hear Dorsey already wavering on his commitment to Johnson on the heels of a 2018 campaign in which the passing-down specialist had career-low marks for carries (40), catches (47) and targets (62). Johnson did maintain his impressive efficiency with 5.0 yards per carry, 6.9 per target and 9.1 per reception, so he should still have some trade value if the Browns eventually move in that direction.

February 12, 2019 7:42 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Quiet in season finale

Johnson rushed four times for 21 yards and caught one of four targets for three yards in Sunday's 26-24 loss to the Ravens.

Analysis: Though Johnson averaged a career-best five yards-per-carry, he saw his number of carries fall off a cliff in 2018. He garnered just 40 carries after racking up at least 70 in each of his first three years in the league. The 25-year-old back also set career lows in receptions and receiving yards, leaving one to wonder why the Browns dished out a three-year, $15.6 million contract extension to him this past offseason if they didn't intend to utilize his strengths. Despite his lack of involvement, Johnson remains a dynamic threat when he has the ball in his hands, though with Nick Chubb's emergence, his touches as a ball carrier figure to be limited in 2019.

January 2, 2019 4:36 PM EST

Duke Johnson: Six catches in win over Cincy

Johnson ran for 12 yards on two carries, adding six receptions for 54 yards during Sunday's 26-18 win against the Bengals.

Analysis: After a cold start to the season -- 2 catches and 18.2 receiving YPG through Week 5 -- Johnson has heated up down the stretch, three times exceeding 50 yards receiving over the past 10 games, and racking up three touchdowns between Weeks 9 and 10 (though he currently owns a five-game scoreless streak). With the firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, Johnson has more so resembled the 2017 version of himself that finished behind only Alvin Kamara and Todd Gurley in receiving yards among running backs (693 yards). The fourth-year man hasn't been handed the rock more than five times in a game all season, but he's garnered five-plus targets on six occasions, heading into a Week 17 matchup against a Baltimore defense that's allowed 994 receiving yards to RBs this season (fourth fewest).

December 23, 2018 4:51 PM EST

Duke Johnson: Eight touches in win

Johnson carried the ball four times for 28 yards and caught four passes on five targets for 25 yards during Sunday's 17-16 win over the Broncos.

Analysis: Johnson's eight total touches were his most since Nov. 4 and his four rushing attempts were his most since Week 5. In his first three seasons in the NFL, Johnson was used primarily as a receiver out of the backfield, though 2018 has been a different story. His offensive snaps have been limited and Baker Mayfield doesn't dump the ball off as much as his predecessors have in the past. Regardless, Week 16's matchup against the Bengals is a favorable one for Johnson, though he'll need the touches to be useful.

December 17, 2018 5:50 PM EST

Duke Johnson: Abysmal showing against Panthers

Johnson carried the ball twice for negative six yards during Sunday's 26-20 win over the Panthers.

Analysis: Johnson's involvement in the offense continues to be nearly nonexistent. Sunday's contest marked the first game all season in which Johnson wasn't targeted as a receiver, and his negative six rushing yards also marked a season low. With rookie Nick Chubb continuing to dominate the snaps and workload, the 25-year-old back has just seven carries for 25 yards and six receptions for 66 yards over the past four games.

December 10, 2018 5:56 PM EST

Duke Johnson: Good to go Sunday

Johnson (personal) doesn't carry a designation into Sunday's game against the Panthers after practicing fully Friday, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: After taking Wednesday and Thursday off to tend to a personal matter, Johnson returned to the team facility Friday, putting to rest any concern about his Week 14 availability. Despite missing out on some practice reps this week, Johnson shouldn't face any restrictions come Sunday, though his role has been downsized anyway since Week 10. Johnson hasn't eclipsed 20 offensive snaps in any of the past three games, mostly as a byproduct of the Browns unleashing lead back Nick Chubb in the passing game.

December 7, 2018 12:01 PM EST

Duke Johnson: Rejoins team Friday

Johnson (personal) has rejoined the team Friday after missing practice the last two days, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Analysis: An earlier report from Michael Silver of NFL.com indicated Johnson may not return in time for Sunday's game against the Panthers due to the death of his grandmother, but that no longer appears to be the case. The Browns' official injury report should clear any questions on the 25-year-old's availability when released later Friday.

December 7, 2018 8:07 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Status for Sunday uncertain

Johnson (personal) may not return to the team for Sunday's game against the Panthers, Michael Silver of NFL.com reports.

Analysis: Johnson has been away from the team this week due to the death of his grandmother, according to Silver. The Browns' injury report should provide a better idea of his game status when released later Friday, but at this point the 25-year-old's availability appears to be in doubt.

December 7, 2018 7:56 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Absent again Thursday

Johnson (personal) isn't participating in Thursday's practice, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Analysis: Johnson will remain away from the team for a second straight day to address the personal matter, leaving his availability for Sunday's game against the Panthers tentatively in jeopardy. If Johnson rejoins the team for their final practice Friday, it would assuage any concerns about his Week 14 status.

December 6, 2018 8:52 AM EST

Duke Johnson: Excused for personal reasons

Johnson missed practice Wednesday for personal reasons, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Analysis: Coach Gregg Williams is hopeful Johnson can return from the excused absence to take part in Thursday's session. It won't be a concern for his Week 14 availability unless the running back is still away from the team Friday. The Browns will play host to a slumping Carolina team that's been torched by opposing wideouts and tight ends while mostly holding running backs in check (105.2 scrimmage yards per game, 11 TDs).

December 5, 2018 12:05 PM EST

Duke Johnson: Not practicing Wednesday

Johnson wasn't in attendance for Wednesday's practice, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: It wasn't announced that Johnson suffered an injury during Sunday's 29-13 loss to the Texans, though it would provide an explanation for why the pass-catching specialist was limited to just 20 offensive snaps in a game the Browns trailed wire to wire. The Browns will release their first injury report of Week 14 later Wednesday, which will reveal weather Johnson's absence was health-related or merely a matter of rest.

December 5, 2018 9:10 AM EST

Duke Johnson: No rush attempts against Houston

Johnson didn't record a carry and caught two of three targets for 12 yards during Sunday's 29-13 loss to the Texans.

Analysis: The Browns rushed just nine times as a team Sunday, as the game script forced them to throw on almost every down in an attempt to make up a 23-0 deficit at half time. However, even though quarterback Baker Mayfield attempted 43 passes, Johnson saw only three of those directed toward him. Johnson was on the field for 35 percent of the offensive snaps and his production continues to falter. He'll look to get more involved Sunday against the Panthers.

December 4, 2018 6:15 PM EST

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