The Cleveland Browns continued what is becoming quite the successful off-season after the team agreed to an extension with versatile running back Duke Johnson, Jr. It’s a deal that will keep Johnson around for an additional three seasons. The contract will be worth $15.6 million with a $5 million signing bonus to sweeten the deal for the fourth-year pro.
Terms: The #Browns are signing RB Duke Johnson to a 3-year contract extension worth $15.6M, source said. He gets a $5M signing bonus.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 7, 2018
Duke Johnson Signing Three-Year Deal With Cleveland Browns
What This Means for Cleveland
The shifty running back is coming off a productive season in which he compiled over 1,000 yards from scrimmage (693 receiving, 348 rushing). The 693 receiving yards in 2017 were a career high for Johnson, who had yet to rack up less than 500 yards receiving in any of his first three seasons. That feat would be impressive for a wide receiver given Cleveland’s track record of quarterbacks, yet Johnson was able to accomplish it out of the backfield.
Johnson has arguably been the Browns best offensive player since the franchise selected him in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The former Miami Hurricane has been one of the NFL’s leading receiving backs over his first three seasons. The team’s lack of success did not slow the young back’s production. More impressive yet, Johnson has played in all 48 games over his three NFL seasons so far.
Johnson, a fan favorite in Cleveland, also happens to be one of the longest-tenured Browns on the roster. That may be hard to believe, given that he is only entering year four. Of course, the perpetual turnover in Cleveland has claimed several victims. A strong and positive presence in the locker room, Johnson is the perfect example of a player that can contribute on the field without posing a distraction off of it.
The Browns still have plenty to prove. The franchise has established itself as the laughingstock of the league since returning to the NFL in 1999. That being said, the turn around had to start somewhere. The franchise has spent the off-season attempting to change the negative perception of the organization league-wide. The re-signing of Johnson serves as another positive step in the right direction.