D’Ernest Johnson was about to experience a breakout year but found himself buried on the Cleveland Browns depth chart heading into training camp.
But despite facing an uphill battle to get the people behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, Johnson is entering the season ready to prove the doubters wrong, something he has spoken out for in a tweet.
“I know a lot of people have counted me or are counting me,” Johnson said. “Being in doubt is what made me who I am today. Underdog Mentality SlowGrind,” Johnson tweeted on July 21.
When Camp Browns opened last year, Johnson was supposed to be on the list. However, he made an impression and took his chance when his number was called after the injury hit the Browns. With Hunt and Chubb scoring, Johnson started a tie and finished the season with a record of 534 yards per 100 shots and three touchdowns.
He was the top-rated man in Pro Football Focus’s comeback run with a quick 90.6 and also contributed in the passing game, collecting 19 relays for 137 yards.
Speculation revolves around Johnson being traded
With the Browns having three full-backs with strong production capabilities, teams will likely inquire about a possible trade before the start of the season. Johnson could be a low-cost, high-ceiling acquisition for an underperforming team.
While Johnson never voiced displeasure, Johnson refused to sign his unrestricted free agency contract with the Browns. In the end, he agreed to a year-long deal worth the equivalent of $2.43 million more than the bid would have, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, with the difference being his guaranteed amount, worth $900,000. If a team is interested in Johnson, the numbers that aren’t a factor in picking a return person have made it clear.
Johnson was recently identified as a possible commercial candidate by BrownsZone’s Scott Petrak.
“[I] Don’t think Hunt will be dealt with. I just think he’s too talented and a return to trading wouldn’t match his importance to the offense. The Browns may not be willing to give him the contract extension he wants, but he is still extremely valuable to them in 2022,” wrote Petrak on July 18. “I think one scenario. it’s more likely that D’Ernest Johnson is traded pre-season. … Johnson can spend more profligately than Hunt. Johnson is also going to be a free agent after the season and not as good as Hunt.”
Hunt has expressed a desire to stay with brown people
There have also been some articles about the possibility of the Browns switching from Hunt through trade. Unlike Johnson, who has a small sample production scale, Hunt is more of a proven item than a starter product and can earn a lot in return. He led the NFL in the hustle as a rookie in 2017 with the Chiefs and has more than 5,150 yards from the script and 44 touchdowns to put his name on a five-year NFL career.
The problem for Hunt in Cleveland is that he will never return to the lead unless Chubb – who has proven himself as one of the top defenders in the league – gets out. Even so, he expressed a desire to stay with the Browns. Hunt is entering the final year of his contract and an extension seems imminent.
“I really don’t know what to think right now,” Hunt said on June 17. “I’m just trying to go out there and show them I’m fit, show them I’m ready to go on the pitch for them like they’re like. as long as they want me, so I want to stay here for a long time. “
The Browns general manager, Andrew Berry, has always operated on the premise that there is no such thing as too much talent in one position. The Browns certainly have a lot of wealth behind their scenes but we’ll see if they ultimately decide to turn it into some fortune.
Heavier on Browns News
Loading more articles
https://heavy.com/sports/cleveland-browns/dernest-johnson-trade-rumors-kareem-hunt/ Browns RB D’Ernest Johnson denies commercial rumors