Browns trade disgruntled running back Duke Johnson to Texans

The Browns, who as recently as the eve of training camp had maintained they would hang on to Duke Johnson, announced Thursday that they’ve traded the disgruntled running back to the Texans.

According to NFL.com, in return for Johnson the Browns will receive a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft that could become a third-round choice.

Johnson, 25, joined the Browns as a third-round pick in 2015. He appeared in 64 games (10 starts). He had 1,286 rushing yards and 2,170 receiving yards on 235 receptions with 13 total touchdowns.

He became disenchanted with the Browns after they added suspended running back Kareem Hunt this offseason and had demanded a trade that Cleveland’s front office had steadfastly refused to make, even as Johnson fired his previous agent and hired Drew Rosenhaus in an effort to engineer a deal.

The trade comes just slightly more than two weeks after Browns coach Freddie Kitchens declared, “We’re not giving away good players” the day before the team’s training camp started.

Instead, Johnson is headed to Houston, where he steps into a backfield situation in which the Texans have this week waived former first-round pick D’Onta Foreman and appear to be sorting out who’ll complement Lamar Miller, who had a combined 1,136 yards from scrimmage (973 rushing yards, 163 receiving yards) and six touchdowns in 14 games in 2018 to earn a berth in the Pro Bowl.

Damarea Crockett, Josh Ferguson, Karan Higdon Jr. and Buddy Howell also are in camp with the Texans.

Johnson signed a three-year, $15.61 million extension before the 2018 season that runs through the 2021 season.

In addition to the draft choice acquired Thursday, the Browns currently have their own picks in rounds 1-7 of the 2020 draft as well as the Cardinals’ sixth-round pick (DB Jamar Taylor trade) and the Bills’ seventh-round pick (WR Corey Coleman trade).