D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Sat 6/4/22 3:01 PM

Johnson and the Browns have reached an agreement on a one-year deal worth $2.43 million, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
EDGE Analysis
Johnson was originally tendered by the Browns, which gave them the ability to match any other offer he received. Without any substantial offers, the running back has ultimately opted to take the deal with Cleveland. With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt the primary two backs in the offense, Johnson projects to again be the next-man-up should either go down with an injury. He averaged 5.34 yards per attempt on 100 carries for the team in 2021 while finding the end zone three times.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Fri 3/11/22 9:13 AM

Cleveland intends to tender Johnson at the right of first refusal number, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.
EDGE Analysis
The Browns will have the ability to match any offer Johnson receives from another team, setting him up for a one-year contract around $2.43 million unless more offers enter the mix. Johnson showed out well last season, recording three contests with over 100 scrimmage yards, and Cleveland appears to be prioritizing an intact backfield. Considering that Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (ankle) combined to miss 12 games due to injury last year, Johnson's depth role could prove a vital one.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Sun 1/9/22 4:41 PM

Johnson rushed 25 times for 123 yards and a touchdown and brought in his only target for 10 yards in the Browns' 21-16 win over the Bengals on Sunday.
EDGE Analysis
With nothing to play for in terms of the postseason and backup Case Keenum helming the offense, head coach Kevin Stefanski opted to give some other reserves a chance to showcase their skills, and Johnson cashed in nicely on the opportunity. The talented 25-year-old already had demonstrated his ability to serve as a legitimate lead back when called upon earlier this season, so his strong showing against a short-handed Bengals defense looking ahead to the playoffs wasn't completely surprising. Johnson finishes the season with 534 rushing yards and another 137 yards through the air, but with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in front of him, his path to meaningful playing time could well continue to hinge on injuries in front of him if he remains in Cleveland. However, Johnson is a restricted free agent, so there's a chance he did enough this season to warrant interest from other clubs depending on the qualifying offer the Browns extend.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Sun 1/9/22 11:52 AM

Johnson is active for Sunday's game against the Bengals.
EDGE Analysis
Johnson was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, and with Kareem Hunt (ankle) inactive, the stage is set for Johnson to be available to work behind Nick Chubb in the Browns' Week 18 backfield, with Demetric Felton on hand in reserve.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Sat 1/8/22 11:51 AM

Johnson was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.
EDGE Analysis
It'll be interesting to see how critical a role Johnson will play in the team's finale Sunday given Nick Chubb carries no injury designation after being limited in practice all week due to separate ribs and chest injuries. Typical backup Kareem Hunt, meanwhile, is listed as questionable with an ankle injury that has sidelined him since Week 14. Expect more clarification on the backfield usage prior to the team's 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Tue 1/4/22 6:08 PM

Cleveland placed Johnson on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday after he tested positive for the virus, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
EDGE Analysis
According to Jake Trotter of ESPN.com, Johnson is vaccinated, so he'll be eligible to come off the list as soon as he's deemed asymptomatic or is able to turn in consecutive negative test results at least 24 hours apart. He should have a shot at being reinstated to the roster prior to Sunday's game against the Bengals, though he'll almost certainly miss practice time while following the NFL's COVID-19 return-to-play protocol. Even if he gets cleared to suit up in the season finale, Johnson could be in store for a small role out of the backfield if both Nick Chubb (ribs) and Kareem Hunt (ankle) are able to play through their respective injuries.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Tue 1/4/22 8:25 AM

Johnson carried five times for 13 yards and caught one of three targets for one yard in Monday's 26-14 loss to the Steelers. He also returned five kickoffs for 113 yards.
EDGE Analysis
Johnson was on the field for 39 snaps, nine more than starter Nick Chubb, who was apparently banged up earlier in the contest according to head coach Kevin Stefanski, per a report from Zac Jackson of The Athletic. Chubb managed to stay in the game, but Stefanski shied away from the running attack, and quarterback Baker Mayfield paid for it in the form of nine sacks and 11 quarterback hits. If Chubb is unavailable next week or the Browns choose to rest him, Johnson will be in line for a larger load Week 18 against the Bengals.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Mon 12/27/21 9:21 AM

Johnson had four carries for 58 yards and caught one of two targets for eight yards in Week 16's 24-22 loss to the Packers on Saturday.
EDGE Analysis
Johnson's day included a huge 3rd-and-10 conversion on which he rushed 30 yards to the Green Bay five-yard line and set up the Browns' final score. He served as Nick Chubb's backup for the third consecutive game with Kareem Hunt sidelined by an ankle injury and placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Johnson's seen exactly five touches in all three games, and he has emerged as a competent backup with starter potential in his third NFL season. He'll never usurp the primary role from Chubb, but Johnson is averaging 5.5 yards per carry during his career and hasn't taken the number of hits that other running backs have absorbed over 47 career games.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Mon 12/20/21 9:27 PM

Johnson rushed once for minus-2 yards and caught all four of his targets for 17 yards in Monday's 16-14 loss to the Raiders.
EDGE Analysis
Johnson was a non-factor on the ground behind workhorse Nick Chubb, who mustered 91 yards and a touchdown on 23 rushing attempts. He played a scaled-down version of the third-down back role normally occupied by the inactive Kareem Hunt, who's currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list while also dealing with an ankle injury, and Johnson actually tied Donovan Peoples-Jones for the team lead in catches. Given his role in this one, Johnson will be tough to trust in Week 16 against the Packers, even if Hunt's not ready to return.

D'Ernest Johnson
RB CLE (9)
Fri 12/17/21 7:01 PM

Johnson and the Browns will no longer play the Raiders on Saturday, after the NFL officially rescheduled the matchup between the two teams for Monday at 5 p.m. ET.
EDGE Analysis
Due to ongoing COVID-19-related issues within the Cleveland organization, the NFL is hopeful that by delaying the game two days, the Browns will restore enough players from the reserve/COVID-19 list to alleviate depth concerns on the roster. Since Kareem Hunt isn't in line to play Week 15 after failing to practice this week due to an ankle injury before being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, Johnson has a clear path to the No. 2 role out of the backfield behind starter Nick Chubb.