The Houston Texans made a roster move Friday morning. No, Deshaun Watson has not been traded.
Adam Schefter of ESPN was among those to report Houston cut ties with running back Duke Johnson, whom the Texans acquired from the Cleveland Browns in August of 2019.
Texans just released RB Duke Johnson, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 26, 2021
The move saves the Texans up to over $5 million in cap space, as Johnson had a non-guaranteed base salary of $4.65 million and would have also made $500,000 via a workout bonus.
Johnson had a strong debut season with the Texans as a complementary back to Carlos Hyde, who took over for Lamar Miller as the feature back after Miller suffered a torn ACL in August of 2019. The former Browns running back rushed for 410 yards on 4.9 yards per carry. Johnson was even more dynamic in the passing game, hauling in 44 receptions for 410 yards as a solid option for Watson coming out of the backfield.
But the 27-year-old was far less productive in 2020. Johnson averaged a mere 3.1 yards per carry and also saw a drop in yards per reception. He was on the field for just 36 percent of the offensive snaps, as compared to 48 percent in 2019.
Now, the Texans will likely face a decision on Johnson’s backfield partner.
Houston acquired David Johnson as part of the DeAndre Hopkins trade, and the 29-year-old actually had some success at 4.7 yards per carry. But he was limited to 12 games due to injury, and physical issues have plagued his career.
The Texans could save over $6.4 million by cutting Johnson. In other words, there might not be a single “Johnson” in Houston’s backfield next season.