<
>

Why the trade of Duke Johnson is a grand slam for all involved

Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for 850 ESPN Cleveland.

The trade of running back Duke Johnson Jr. to the Houston Texans earlier in the day is a true win-win deal.

You can stretch it to win-win-win-win. Here's why:

1. Johnson gets his wish to be traded now, and not at the mid-season trade deadline.

2. The Browns get at least a fourth-round pick in 2020, and very possibly a third if Johnson is active for 10 games. Also, Johnson's base salary doubles in 2020, per his contract, and makes him much more difficult to deal next season.

3. The Texans get a reliable third-down back behind starter Lamar Miller, a former U. of Miami teammate of Johnson’s.

4. The path is cleared for Dontrell Hilliard or D’Ernest Johnson – both undrafted but well-regarded – to back up Nick Chubb and, later, Kareem Hunt. Don't expect either to be used like Johnson, however. The Browns intend to throw to Chubb much more this year, lessening the need for a third-down specialst.

The Texans didn’t blink in paying what was considered a generous price tag because they are expecting to receive two compensatory picks in the third round in 2020 for free agent losses Kareem Jackson and Tyrann Mathieu.

It's about time Browns got some reparation from the Texans, anyway.

Former Browns GM Sashi Brown unburdened Houston of salary cap-boil Brock Osweiler in March of 2017 and then hand-delivered franchise QB Deshaun Watson in that year’s draft in April by trading the No. 12 overall draft pick.

For the record, Brown's successor, John Dorsey, turned Houston's second-round pick in 2018, which turned out to be No. 35 overall -- the real prize in the Osweiler deal -- into Chubb.