News came out yesterday that Duke Johnson’s desire to be traded by the Cleveland Browns was finally brought to fruition. He was traded to the Houston Texans for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft. The pick may come in the third-round if Johnson is active for at least 10 games, per multiple reports.
Johnson’s request to be traded was not seen in the best light, even though he still participated in mini-camp and he showed up to training camp. Head coach Freddie Kitchens had this to say…
“He wants to be traded. I want to win the lottery. It doesn’t matter,” Kitchens said. “He’s under contract. He’s a Cleveland Brown. He’s going to be used to the best of his ability in what benefits the team.”
It does matter though. Wanting to leave a team that is not using you to the best of your abilities is not winning the lottery. Which you sort of did win the lottery by the way because you replaced Gregg Williams who brought life back to Cleveland football. This should not be your team, but it is filled with talent and they are easily Super Bowl contenders. Learn some appreciation; Head Coaching is more of a media gig and coming across as a slightly overweight white guy who doesn’t care about player happiness is not the right image to portray. If a player feels undervalued and wants to leave so that they can actually play the game that they love, then let them.
I remember watching Duke Johnson in his final year at Miami (FL), and when he was used properly, he rushed for 1,652 yards and totaled 2,073 yards from scrimmage. He was elusive and fun to watch in college, but the Browns did not use him properly at all for the first few years of his career. Granted Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (Cleveland’s now primary running backs) are definitely better talents in the NFL; Duke Johnson can still perform far better elsewhere. And Using Chubb and Hunt as your two main backs is the best thing to do; you’re a former running backs coach for f*ck sake Kitchens. Have Chubb grind and pound for first and second, wear down the defense, and then have Hunt light the f*ckers up. I mean really you have an amazing ground attack, that is going to be opened up even more with Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, AND O.B.J.!!! If the Browns suck this year, it is all on you, Freddie Kitchens.
Duke Johnson is a versatile back in the mold of a traditional third-down receiving threat. The Texans thinned their running back ranks earlier this week by placing D’Onta Foreman on waivers. So hopefully the Texans are the best fit for Johnson, but there is no question that they are a better fit for Johnson than the Browns.
Johnson even understood that the team would be better without him, and I absolutely believe that the Browns are Super Bowl contenders this year. It does not matter if he is under contract Coach Kitchens, you replaced Gregg Williams who brought life back to Cleveland, and you have no experience as a Head Coach. We have no reason to like you, you could be the biggest flop of the year and start another trend of losing in Cleveland, even though you have an amazing talented team.
Duke Johnson had this to say…
“I understand the nature of the business. I understand John Dorsey’s job is to do what’s best for the team and the organization. If that’s getting rid of me for a bigger piece and a better piece, then I’m OK with it,” Johnson said earlier this summer. “Like I said before, my trade request was to meet them at a middle ground.”
This is the day-and-age when players want to do what is best for them and what is best for the teams involved. It is not like the 1920s-70s and part of the 80s when players were not making amazing amounts of money; they would play for whoever let them play because they loved the game and needed money. But now that we have outrageous contracts, it is not hard to see that things were closely related to slavery in professional sports. Several well-known athletes from other sports have opened up about feeling like a slave because that’s how it currently is when you believe that money is the only reason for somebody to stay.
This thought can be applied to any profession where you make money under contract, and if people want to leave then it is best to just let them because eventually if they are unhappy enough then they will just stop working for you and collect their money. Life is about passions, not contracts, it is still fantastic to have contracts because that is also how you keep people happy. We want to know that we will be paid what we are worth for the work that we give you, but we need to be in the right environment to give you the type of work that you ask for.
Football is definitely a team sport, you want your locker room and team chemistry to be 100%, if somebody is unhappy then hear them out. If they feel undervalued, then step up their workload or trade them.