Browns trade RB Johnson to Texans for '20 pick

Johnson trade could hurt Browns' depth at RB (1:19)

ESPN Browns reporter Jake Trotter likes the value Cleveland got for Duke Johnson Jr. but is worried about running back depth. (1:19)

The Cleveland Browns have traded running back Duke Johnson Jr. to the Houston Texans, the Browns announced Thursday.

The Texans agreed to send a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft to the Browns, a pick that can become a third-round selection, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The move comes after the Texans waived running back D'Onta Foreman earlier this week. Foreman was later claimed off waivers by the Indianapolis Colts.

"Duke was a good football player," Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. "He is a good football player. It's hard to let good football players go. But we did what was best for the organization and the Cleveland Browns.

"What John did, felt like we needed to do," Kitchens said of Browns general manager John Dorsey. "Duke was drafted in the third round. Good opportunity to help us out down the road in the future. We wish Duke nothing but the best."

Johnson had been seeking a trade this offseason and had said there was nothing the team could do to change his mind. Kitchens confirmed that Johnson, who's been out since Cleveland's first practice, was in fact injured because of a pulled hamstring and hasn't been faking any injury.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield publicly criticized Johnson in June for his trade request but said last month the two had addressed their issues and were "good."

"That's obviously not my call," Mayfield said of the trade. "We talked about it. We've got to have a next-man-up mentality. Tonight you saw a lot of Dontrell Hilliard. We're going to be counting on guys to continue to step up and fill that void. Because Duke was obviously a huge part of our offense last year."

In June 2018, Johnson signed a three-year, $15.6 million extension with the Browns. He is under contract through the 2021 season.

A third-round draft choice of the Browns in 2015, Johnson has rushed for 1,286 yards over four seasons. He fell behind rookie Nick Chubb on the depth chart last season, and the team signed Kareem Hunt, who will miss the first eight games of 2019 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Last week, Texans coach Bill O'Brien said running back Lamar Miller would be the starter this season but that the backup spot was "wide open."