Houston Texans: Bill O’Brien negotiated the Duke Johnson trade himself

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans have traded for running back Duke Johnson and it was Bill O’Brien that negotiated the deal. What does Duke bring? Let’s look.

Houston Texans fans — we’re finally starting to witness what it feels like to get some preseason action in.  The pads will be coming on and we’ll be able to see our team take in some action out of the gridiron.

In their case, it will be at the legendary Lambeau Field tonight against the Green Bay Packers.  There will be a lot of things to watch tonight, particularly the offensive line but there are other groups to keep an eye on.

With A.J. McCarron out with a thumb injury, the Houston Texans have signed rookie quarterback Jordan Ta’amu to fill his spot will he heals.  He is expected to miss most of the preseason so we may be seeing Ta’amu — who was in rookie minicamp back this spring — under center a lot during these games.

I took out a column on Ta’amu so take a look at it here.

I’d doubt that Deshaun Watson plays nothing more than a few series tonight so Ta’amu going to get a lot of playing time.  This will be something interesting to watch.

But in other news, the Houston Texans were able to solve the hole that they have at running back with the recent release of D’Onta Foreman.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle broke the news earlier that running back Duke Johnson had been traded from the Cleveland Browns.  In exchange, the Houston Texans will give up a conditional 2020 fourth-rounder that could become a third if Johnson appears in more than 10 games.

According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, Bill O’Brien negotiated the deal himself with Browns’ general manager John Dorsey over the phone.

Since the Houston Texans…uh…don’t have a general manager, it has been a power play in O’Brien’s corner on Kirby Drive with the assumption that they’re just going to either wait for Nick Caserio to become a free agent or see if the New England Patriots’ price for him goes down.

Nonetheless, this team has a talented running back that’s an amazing pass-catcher on the roster

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and will be a nice complement to Lamar Miller.

Pro Football Focus has him ranked 2nd in forced missed tackles per reception (0.34), 7th in yards per route run (1.73) and 4th in percentage of receptions resulting in a first down or touchdown (44 percent).

He’s currently 17th among active players in two-point conversions and was a Top 10 player earlier in his career in terms of yards per touch with a high of 6.9.

Duke can also capably work on special teams with most of his experience being with punt returns so I know that’s certainly one of the reasons as to why this attracted O’Brien to him.

With Kareem Hunt returning and the Browns already having Nick Chubb on the roster, there was a glut of running backs, allowing Johnson to be expendable.  This opened a unique opportunity for the Houston Texans to fulfill a need.

Next. Texans need to have guts and trade for Trent Williams. dark

He’s fast but his reliability comes into question as he’s suffered a myriad of injuries in his career, particularly with his hamstring but this move is worth the gamble.  However, he did appear in all 16 games last season.  He’s a terrific RB2 option for the Houston Texans.

Johnson, 25, had 40 carries for 201 yards — he also caught 47 balls for 429 yards and three touchdowns last season.