Whatever goodwill D’Ernest Johnson amassed in 2021 is gone. The Cleveland Browns made him utterly expendable by never using him, even when Kareem Hunt struggled mightily. The team made it clear that Johnson isn’t someone they see a long-term future with, and for the sake of him getting actual reps, letting him walk is the right thing to do.
Not only does Johnson deserve a shot at starting, but the Browns are filled with running backs they don’t intend on using anytime soon, at least as running backs, so keeping around Johnson only further eats up a roster spot.
When you think of guys like Jerome Ford, who’s only getting time as a return specialist, as well as Demetric Felton, who’s actually listed as a receiver on the depth chart, it becomes obvious that carrying five running backs is just stupid.
For Johnson to get a new contract would either mean they’re getting ready to cut Felton, won’t be re-signing Kareem Hunt, and don’t value Ford. After all, why keep Ford and Johnson? You can only carry so many players per season and per game and over-valuing a position you don’t actually use the dept of is just silly.