Browns general manager John Dorsey doesn’t seem like he’ll be trading Duke Johnson anytime soon.
The 25-year-old running back reportedly asked Cleveland to move him in early April and he has not reported to the team’s voluntary offseason workout program. But, Dorsey told reporters Thursday he views Johnson as a “member of this organization moving forward.”
“He understands the role that he’s going to play within this offense,” Dorsey said via the Beacon Journal. “That’s what’s important because Duke, everybody knows, is a very talented playmaker, and I look forward to seeing him on the field on Sundays.”
The Browns are expected to start Nick Chubb — who impressed as a rookie — at running back next season and Johnson was pushed further down the depth chart when the team signed Kareem Hunt in February.
Hunt will serve an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy to start 2019.
Dorsey said Browns coach Freddie Kitchens thinks Johnson will be an important contributor.
“When you sit down with Freddie and the coaching staff, they see him as a vital part of this offense moving forward,” Dorsey said. “He’s a good playmaker.”
Johnson received a career-low 40 carries and tallied just 201 yards on the ground last season. He did add 429 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Kitchens said last month he viewed Johnson as a “good football player.”
“I don’t know why it’s assumed that we’re going to trade Duke Johnson,” Kitchens said at the time. “I don’t know why we would ever want to, like, just voluntarily give up a good football player.
“Duke Johnson will have a role on our football team. All these guys that are here will have a role. I don’t know when it just became a necessity to trade Duke Johnson because we signed Kareem Hunt.”
The Jets, Texans and Eagles have all reportedly shown some level of interest in Johnson this offseason.