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Houston Texans release running back Duke Johnson

Nov 26, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson (25) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson (25) runs the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Duke Johnson was released by the Houston Texans on Friday.

According to multiple reports, Johnson was let go by the Texans as the team tries to dodge the full $5.025 million salary cap hit for 2021, the final year on his three-year deal with the team.

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Johnson, 27, signed a three-year, $15.6 million deal in 2018 after four seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

In 2021, he was due a salary of $4,650,000 with a roster bonus of $275,000 and a workout bonus of $100,000, according to spotrac.

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The makeup of the Houston backfield is in flux with quarterback Deshaun Watson demanding a trade. Running back has been a position of extreme turnover in recent years with Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, David Johnson and Duke Johnson among the players the franchise turned to over the past three seasons.

David Johnson, acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in the DeAndre Hopkins trade in 2020, turns 30 in December. He’s in the final year of a three-year, $39 million deal he signed with the Cardinals and has a cap hit of $8.812 million, according to spotrac.

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–Field Level Media