Saturday, April 13

2022 NFL free agency: D’Ernest Johnson re-signs with Browns for one year, $2.4 million, per report

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The Cleveland Browns have their full stable of running backs back in the fold for the 2022 season. According to multiple reports, restricted free-agent D’Ernest Johnson has re-signed with the team on a one-year deal worth approximately $2.4 million. 

The contract will pay Johnson the same amount as the restricted free-agent tenure, only it contains $900,000 in guaranteed money, according to the Chronicle-Telegram

Given a chance to start multiple games last season, Johnson shined in relief of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. In two starts, he carried 41 times for 245 yards and a touchdown, while also catching nine of 10 passes thrown his way for 80 additional yards. He did not start the team’s regular-season finale, but did carry 25 times for 123 yards and a score in that contest. 

On the year, Johnson averaged 5.3 yards per carry on 100 totes, surpassing Hunt’s per-carry average (4.9) and falling just short of Chubb’s (5.5). His catch rate of 76 percent was on par with that of the two more heavily-utilized backs as well. 

With Hunt headed into the final season of his deal, it’s possible the Browns could look to Johnson to be the 1B to Chubb’s 1A in 2023 and beyond. Chubb is locked up on a long-term contract, and the Browns will likely need cheaper options to fill out the roster in the future after signing Deshaun Watson to an astronomical, fully-guaranteed contract after trading for him earlier this offseason. 

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