The Eagles’ running back position is in a state of flux right now, so expect them to explore a bunch of different options this offseason.
And according to Andy Slater, the Eagles and Cowboys have shown interest in possibly trading for Browns running back Duke Johnson. This comes after Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reported at least three teams “are currently believed to be interested” in making a trade for Johnson.
SLATER SCOOP: Eagles and Cowboys have both expressed interest in trading for Browns RB Duke Johnson, source tells me.@MaryKayCabot first reported interest by multiple teams.— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) March 4, 2019
Does this make some sense?
Sure it does. While Johnson wouldn’t be that prototypical feature back the Eagles have been missing, he is a dynamic dual-threat type of player who could replace Darren Sproles. Remember, Sproles is 35 and set to become a free agent on March 13 and still might retire.
Jay Ajayi is also going to be a free agent. That will leave the Eagles with Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement coming off a serious knee injury. They need to address the position either in free agency, the draft or a trade.
Johnson is still just 25 and has had 235 catches for 2,170 yards in his first four NFL seasons. No, he’s not a great rusher — he has averaged 4.3 yards per carry in his career — but his skillset would fit as a change-of-pace type player who has excellent ability out of the backfield as a receiver.
To top it off, his contract is pretty palatable. He signed an extension before the start of last season. According to OverTheCap, he has a base salaries of $1.8 million in 2019, $3.6 in 2020 and $4.65 in 2021. He would definitely be affordable enough.
Johnson’s least productive season in the NFL was in 2018, when he had 630 scrimmage yards. The year before he was over 1,000. The Browns just didn’t use him as much last season. The lack of touches reportedly frustrated Johnson.
I guess the question is: how much would it take to get him? I’m not sure, but it makes sense that the Browns would be interested in dealing him after acquiring Kareem Hunt to go along with last year’s second-round pick Nick Chubb.
Hunt is facing a suspension, so perhaps the Browns wouldn’t mind keeping him around as some insurance. But if they want to deal Johnson, it makes sense that the Eagles would at least make a phone call.
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