The Cleveland Browns traded Duke Johnson to the Houston Texans for a fourth round pick in 2020 that could become a third if he is active for 10 games. The move fulfills the desire of Duke Johnson to be traded and finds a terrific solution to a situation that was largely created by John Dorsey's unwillingness to communicate with his players and and his bad habit of saying the wrong things in public.
The Houston Texans, a team that has been very good to the Browns in trades found themselves in a more desperate situation than they had planned at running back combined with no real GM running things, allowing them to give up more than anyone else had offered for Duke in trade.
Bill O'Brien needs to have a successful season in Houston and it seems like that pressure came out in this trade. Duke could absolutely justify the trade, but the Browns could end up getting four solid seasons from Duke Johnson and getting back their initial investment when they drafted him in 2015.
Duke has been good for the Browns but was never utilized as much as anyone seemed to prefer here, but the Texans need him, so he will get a ton of work this year and could show why some believed Duke was valuable, Houston clearly among them.
It's unfortunate the situation with Duke Johnson had gotten to this point as so much of it seemed avoidable, but the deal is great for the Browns and great for Duke Johnson. Johnson gets the opportunity he's been dreaming of and the Browns get a draft asset in a year where they are going to need more of them.
The first question when it comes to this pick is does this make the Browns feel more confident to potentially move picks to go after someone like Trent Williams? Or are they just preparing for life after a number of free agents to be and players that make sense to release after this year? Plus, more draft assets is always a good situation as they can be extremely versatile. This is a year where the Browns could find themselves buyers at the trade deadline for instance.
Now with Duke moved, the focus moves to Dontrell Hilliard as they need him to be effective in the role Duke had. He doesn't need to be as good as Duke, because they don't need him to do as much as Duke could. But they do need him to be able to function, especially since the Browns won't get Kareem Hunt back until week 9, so their net is gone.
Duke Johnson is a good player, was a good player for the Browns and a true professional. The hope is he goes on to great things for the Houston Texans. In the mean time, the Browns get a lucrative draft asset when it seemed like one wouldn't be available, so good on John Dorsey for navigating himself into a good trade.