Browns trade Duke Johnson to the Texans for a conditional 2020 fourth-round pick
After a months-long campaign to be dealt out of Cleveland, Johnson is headed to the AFC South
After months of pushing back against his public and private trade requests, the Cleveland Browns finally granted Duke Johnson's wish on Thursday, dealing the running back to the Houston Texans in exchange for a conditional 2020 draft pick.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the pick exchanged in the deal is a fourth-rounder that can become a third-rounder in 2020.
Announced ahead of the Browns' preseason opener vs. the Washington Redskins, the trade gives Houston an instant upgrade at the No. 2 running back spot, left unclaimed following the Texans' surprise release of former 2017 third-round draft pick D'Onta Foreman earlier this week.
Even if the conditional draft pick remains a fourth-rounder, Cleveland may ultimately get the last laugh considering the Browns had all but buried Johnson on their own running back depth chart following the addition of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt behind starter Nick Chubb this offseason. A fourth-round pick, after all, is no small haul for a backup that would've cost the Browns more than $13 million over the next three seasons.
The decision to complete this trade may ultimately be viewed as another win for Cleveland general manager John Dorsey. According to NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, Houston's offer was the best one Cleveland has received and by a wide margin.
At any rate, it had been clear for much of the offseason that Johnson intended to play elsewhere. Everyone from general manager John Dorsey to head coach Freddie Kitchens downplayed the possibility of a trade. At one point, quarterback Baker Mayfield made headlines for essentially , but countless reports indicated that Cleveland was willing to listen to offers and, even more so, that Johnson desired a new home after a on the field.
Despite the steep price tag in Thursday's trade, Johnson figures to slot into a prominent role behind Lamar Miller in Houston as soon as he recovers from . Originally a third-round pick in 2015, Johnson caught at least 45 passes in each of his first four NFL seasons, logging a career-high 74 catches for 693 yards in 2017, while also averaging 4.3 yards per carry since entering the NFL.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
R.J. White has locked in his picks for Sunday's exhibition matchup between the Vikings and...
Everything you need to know about the preseason games played on Sunday
Doug Pederson won't address the Eagles' No. 2 quarterback until Nate Sudfeld returns
Former Vegas bookmaker Micah Roberts has his finger on the pulse of the Chargers
Josh McCown found the ideal situation in Philly
Sean McVay impresses with his play-by-play of Saturday's game against the Cowboys