The Houston Texans officially have acquired running back Duke Johnson from the Browns. Next comes figuring out how he’ll help the team.
“We have a vision for how we want to use him, we’re excited about it, we’ve got to get him rehabbed,” coach Bill O’Brien told reporters on Saturday. “He hasn’t missed any games in the past, I think, three years. Played 16-game seasons, been very productive, has played on special teams. We just have to get him out on a field and try to start seeing him within the vision that we have for him.”
Johnson, through four seasons in the NFL, has yet to miss a game. Although O’Brien didn’t specify the vision for Johnson, the Texans see him as a player who has great versatility.
“Duke’s a first-, second-, third-down running back, he’s played on special teams,” O’Brien said. “Good in the running game, good in the passing game, good professional. Really excited to have him on board and just really look forward to working with him.”
O’Brien explained that Johnson had been on Houston’s radar screen for a while, and that the organization did its due diligence.
“A lot of people spoke very highly of him, including some people here,” O’Brien said. “Andre Johnson knows him from down in Miami, and Lamar Miller.”
Johnson could potentially supplant Miller, especially since Miller has one year left on his contract and Johnson arrives with a deal that lasts through 2021. His $1.8 million salary for 2019 doubles in 2020; the Texans will need to believe based on what happens this year that they’ll get that kind of value out of him next year.