Could a Duke Johnson Jr. return interest the Browns?

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The Cleveland Browns have two of the best running backs in the NFL, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, in a run-centered offense under Kevin Stefanski.

Last year, Chubb ran for over 1,000 yards on less than 200 carries while Hunt tallied 841 yards, also on less than 200 carries. The two combined for 18 rushing touchdowns and only one fumble lost.

Not a lot to complain about at the position as both are able to handle the load while complimenting each other and keeping each other fresh.

Hunt was used far more often in the passing game with 38 receptions for over 300 yards while Chubb had only 16 catches for 150 yards.

D’Ernest Johnson was the third back for most of the year but only had 33 carries and three receptions.

The Browns brought in Demetric Felton with their final pick in the 2021 NFL draft looking to capitalize on his versatility as a runner and pass-catcher.

While Browns fans may be excited about Felton and feel comfortable with D’Ernest Johnson as the third back, the team with Super Bowl aspirations is always looking to bring in competition and improve.

Could a returning Duke Johnson Jr. interest the Browns?

Duke is currently a free agent after finishing out the contract he signed with the Browns before being traded to Houston. He ranks as Pro Football Focus’ 14th remaining free agent at this time.

Last year, in only 11 games with the Texans, Duke ran the ball 77 times for 235 yards while catching 28 passes for 249 yards. Combined he had two touchdowns.

With the Browns and Texans, Duke Johnson Jr. was often dinged up but didn’t miss a game until the 2020 season when he missed five.

A return to Cleveland could be a sweet return and give the Browns a third versatile back while allowing Felton to adjust to the NFL as a rookie. Adding Duke Johnson Jr. would set up a Johnson and Johnson competition for a roster spot with D’Ernest Johnson.

(All of Browns media is rooting against a return so they can just use a last name instead of constantly having to list a full name, or use just a first name while talking about the backs.)

The former Brown is a better pass catcher with more experience while the current Brown has return skills that could keep him on the field.

Odds are that Duke Johnson Jr. is waiting for an opening somewhere, whether due to injury or a trade, where he can compete to be a team’s second back. A return to Cleveland is unlikely given the presence of Chubb and Hunt but Duke could provide an extra spark if the two sides were able to come together.