Unsigned RB D’Ernest Johnson attends voluntary OTAs

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Often times when a player skips voluntary activities in the NFL it is made into big news. While the word “voluntary” is clearly involved in the current round of OTAs, many tend to believe players are required to attend.

The Cleveland Browns opened this round of voluntary OTAs to media members on Wednesday. There were a lot of video highlights and it was good to see some of the new faces in the brown and orange.

It was also good to see that RB D’Ernest Johnson was in attendance despite not having signed a contract with the team and the aforementioned voluntary nature of the practice.

Johnson was very explosive as a fill-in for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in 2021.

The Browns put a restricted free agent tender on Johnson this offseason, giving themselves a chance to match any offer the running back received. No offer came before the deadline on April 22nd.

Johnson can now only negotiate with Cleveland for his next contract but has yet to sign. He could sign the $2.43 million tender or he could negotiate a long-term deal. The Browns could also decide to rescind their tender offer at any time before Johnson signs it.

With Chubb and Hunt still in place, Johnson is joined in the backfield by 2021 draftee Demetric Felton and 2022 draftee Jerome Ford. It will be interesting if Cleveland keeps all five running backs but, for now, Johnson is in town and working with the team despite not being under contract.