But that doesn’t mean they’re done upgrading the position.
The Cleveland Browns are for their own maligned back, Duke Johnson, and Philadelphia was previously mentioned among potential suitors. Even after acquiring Howard, it appears the Eagles are still eyeing Johnson, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter told 97.5 The Fanatic on Wednesday that the Eagles remain in talks with Cleveland.
“I don’t think (Howard) will be the last back they add between now and training camp,” Schefter said. “They’ve had discussions with the Browns about him.”
Schefter added that “nothing has gotten close” in negotiations between the Eagles and Browns, with the likely holdup being draft compensation for Johnson. But he noted that Philadelphia’s trade talks for Howard also lasted a long time, pointing to the end of April as a typical deadline for deals like this. Schefter suggested Eagles personnel chief Howie Roseman might be able to meet Cleveland’s demands for Johnson — he speculated a fourth-round pick as compensation — during the 2019 draft depending on what occurs there.
A third-round pick of the Browns in 2015, Johnson was deemed expendable this offseason upon Cleveland’s acquisition of former Kansas City Chiefs star Kareem Hunt, not to mention the emergence of 2018 rookie Nick Chubb. The 25-year-old has excelled as a pass-catching option, however, logging 235 catches for 2,170 yards out of the backfield over four seasons. The Eagles presumably view him as a potential Darren Sproles replacement — someone to rotate as a third-down option alongside Howard and returning reserves like Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood.