The Browns have been horrible, but Duke Johnson has been one of the few players to shine during this gloomy 2017 campaign. He’s been the one constant on an inconsistent offense. The running back has already engraved his name in the franchise history books in just his third year.
Johnson broke Greg Pruitt’s 1981 record of most receptions (65) in a single season by a running back. Duke currently sits at 68 catches, a career high, with one more game to play. In addition to leading the team in receptions and receiving yards (618), those are new career highs for him including being targeted 87 times. The Miami U product has accumulated 946 total yards and six touchdowns during 2017 and his contract will expire at the end of next year. So as he enters his final contract year, what will the Browns decided to do?
Hopefully, they extend his contract. I mean, he has already said that he wants to remain in Cleveland. He wants to start and finish his career with the Browns. That is saying a lot about his character considering what this young man has been through the past three dreadful seasons. My initial thoughts are to pay this man to keep him around.
Yes, he probably won’t be an every-down back because I feel he isn’t a true downhill running back, but he is a playmaker. He is explosive and has the potential to go off at any time. He is reliable, has sure hands and Cleveland needs to keep him in town. Chances are that they let Isaiah Crowell walk and take a back in the draft, but Johnson needs to be a part of this team. Use him as a running back, use him as a slot receiver. I don’t care, just utilize this man’s skill set.
When it’s all said and done, I’m not the GM or the coach or even a professional analyst. All I can do is express my opinion and hope for the best. Duke Johnson may not be your favorite Browns player, but you can’t deny his talent and hopefully, the Browns don’t either.