Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr. said Tuesday at mandatory veteran minicamp that he still wants to be traded.
While addressing the media, Johnson said his trade request in April came one month after the Browns had already placed him on the trade block:
According to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot, Johnson added that he feels "unwanted" in Cleveland. Despite his desire to be moved, he also told Cabot that he will not be "disgruntled" if the Browns decide not to do so.
Meanwhile, second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield offered his take:
"He wants to be traded," head coach Freddie Kitchens said, according to NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala. "I want to win the lottery. It doesn't matter. He's under contract. He's a Cleveland Brown; he's going to be used to the best of his ability in what benefits the team."
After enjoying a productive year in 2017 with a career-high 74 receptions for 693 yards, 1,041 yards from scrimmage and seven total touchdowns, Johnson was not utilized as consistently last season.
He finished with a career-low 40 carries and 201 yards on the ground, plus he caught 47 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns.
The 25-year-old veteran took a backseat to Nick Chubb—who rushed for 996 yards as a rookie—and Carlos Hyde until the Browns traded Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars six games into the season.
With Hyde out of the picture, Johnson was in line to potentially retain his role as the third-down back in 2019, but then the Browns signed Kareem Hunt. Prior to his release by the Kansas City Chiefs, Hunt was one of the all-around running backs in the league.
Hunt is suspended for the first eight games of the 2019 season after pushing and kicking a woman at a hotel, but he could make a significant impact upon returning.
Until Hunt's suspension is over, the Browns may be compelled to keep Johnson since there aren't any other established options on the roster to serve as insurance for Chubb. Outside of Johnson, Cleveland has Dontrell Hilliard, D'Ernest Johnson and Trayone Gray, none of whom have an NFL carry on their resumes.
Johnson is signed through 2021 after signing a three-year, $15.61 million contract with the Browns last year, per Spotrac.
Since the Browns have no obligation to trade him and Johnson appears to be willing to ride it out, the most logical move on Cleveland's part may be keeping Johnson until the trade deadline in October.