Johnson isn't present Wednesday for the Browns' OTAs, marking the second straight day he's been absent, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. 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 interested in 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).
Johnson is present Tuesday for the start of OTAs, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. 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.
Johnson is absent from the Browns' voluntary minicamp this week, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. 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.
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. 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.
Johnson's agent has asked the Browns to trade him, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. 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 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.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/17||@New York Jets||18||17.75|
|3||09/23||Los Angeles Rams||14||17.26|
|5||10/08||@San Francisco 49ers||20||19.00|
|8||10/27||@New England Patriots||8||16.00|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||65||302||2||58||545||2||108|