The Cleveland Browns expect to look like a much different team in 2019 with the acquisitions of players like Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt, Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson.
While the team has brought in a handful of new talents, one key offensive player reportedly no longer sees himself having a future in Cleveland. Running back Duke Johnson Jr. has requested a trade from the organization, per Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot.
Johnson already saw a diminished role in 2018. He rushed just 40 times and logged 47 receptions last season after carrying 82 times and making 74 receptions in 2017.
The decrease in opportunity comes alongside the emergence of Nick Chubb, who is set to enter his second year in the league and will likely shoulder an even bigger workload. The Browns then added Hunt via free agency, and while he is suspended for eight games, it's become clear that Johnson isn't in the team's plans going forward. As he falls out of favor, his camp is trying to find him a new team and a fresh start.
Some Duke Johnson, Jr. notes:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 1, 2019
* Under contract through 2021
* Due base salaries of $1.8M, $3.6M, $4.65M
* Since entering the NFL in 2015, he leads all RB with 2,170 receiving yards
* Third in RB receptions since 2015 with 235
* Career rushing average of 4.3 on 299 attempts
Johnson could be a valuable trade asset, as he's a young running back and is under contract until 2021. He has a team-friendly salary, making $1.8 million in 2019, $3.6 million in 2020 and $4.65 million in 2021.
Any team in need of a pass-catching running back should look no further. While Johnson has never excelled as a ground-and-pound style runner, his biggest strength is as a receiver out of the backfield. Expect several teams to inquire about him in the coming weeks before the NFL Draft.