By Peter Gleason
The Eagles traded for Jordan Howard last week, but that doesn’t mean they’re done looking for running back help.
How about Duke Johnson, who recently requested a trade from the Browns!
Adam Schefter of ESPN made a recent radio appearance where he revealed the Eagles are indeed still interested in adding Johnson, via Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports.
The year the Eagles won the Super Bowl they had a committee backfield with a diverse set of skills, so this makes some sense.
“I don’t think (Howard) will be the last back they add between now and training camp,” Schefter said, adding that Philly has “had discussions” with the Browns. Schefter did caution that “nothing has gotten close yet.”
Johnson has always been highly productive when he’s gotten the ball, but touches have been hard to come by for him in Cleveland’s offense recently. Johnson received by far the fewest touches of his career last season, and grew increasingly frustrated with his role.
With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt now in the fold in Cleveland, Johnson decided he wanted out. In 2017, Johnson was one of the best receiving backs in the league, racking up 693 yards on 74 receptions.
He’s an efficient runner out of the backfield who is a true threat as a receiver, and he can line up in the slot in addition to running routes out of the backfield. Johnson is still only 25 and doesn’t have too much tread on his tires for a running back, so it’s not surprising teams are interested.
Johnson is under team control for three more years relatively cheaply, so the Browns are probably looking to land something pretty good for him.
The Birds’ backfield was a weak spot last year as they struggled with injuries to Darren Sproles and Jay Ajayi, and they’ve made upgrading the position a priority this offseason.