He might not be dying his mustache, but Duke Johnson is yet another AFC North skill position player who wants to be traded this offseason. The first, of course, was Antonio Brown, the wide receiver formerly with the Pittsburgh Steelers who forced the team’s hand, them ultimately relenting to a trade for marginal return with the Oakland Raiders.
The Cleveland Browns running back has been open about the fact that he has requested to be traded. He told reporters that this came only after he had learned that the front office already had him on the trading block. He insists that his desire to be traded is about nothing other than wanting to be in a place where he is valued.
“I only want to be somewhere I’m wanted”, he told reporters. “At the end of the day, that’s all this is about, being somewhere you’re wanted. In my case, the moment I’m not wanted anymore, I think it’s best that we find a middle ground and we do what’s best for the team. If you don’t want me here, there’s no need to keep me or force me to be here if you don’t want me here”.
The Browns were reportedly trying to find a trading partner for him after they had agreed to sign Kareem Hunt on a one-year contract. After failing to find a deal that they liked, and Johnson coming out with his trade request, the team has been pretty clear about the fact that they hot all the cards, even going so far as to say that he isn’t expendable “yet”.
With training camp a few weeks away now, the veteran running back has fired his agent, with no specific reasons given, though one would have to assume that it’s related to his desire to be traded. Reportedly, his former agent’s spouse publicly criticized quarterback Baker Mayfield after the second-year player took some shots at Johnson’s loyalty.
“Obviously he’s going to handle his stuff how he wants, but you’re either on this train or you’re not, it’s moving. You can get out of the way or you can join us. So it is what it is”, Mayfield said of Johnson during the spring. “He’s got to do his job. He said he’s a professional, I hope he does his job”.
There was a report that even some veteran teammates took issue with the way that Mayfield spoke of Johnson, considering his situation about business, and there is an unspoken rule that players don’t talk about other players’ business. Jarvis Landry came out and declared emphatically that his teammates are behind him no matter what happens.
Given that there’s nothing going on at this time of year, it’s not crucial that Johnson finds another agent immediately, because if the team explores any further possibility of trading him, it won’t happen until training camp starts up in a few weeks.