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Jaguars signing former Browns RB D'Ernest Johnson to one-year contract

The AFC South-champion Jacksonville Jaguars have added a running mate for Travis Etienne.

The Jags agreed to terms with running back D'Ernest Johnson on a one-year contract, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday, per a source informed of the deal.

ESPN first reported the news.

Johnson is an intriguing addition to the Jacksonville backfield.

The 208-pound back is a bruiser with burst in the second level. In four seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Johnson rushed for 738 yards and three touchdowns on 141 carries. The bulk of his production came in 2021. With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt missing action, Johnson rushed for 534 yards on 100 carries with three scores, including a 22-carry, 146-yard game with a TD in his first start against Denver in Week 7.

Despite being 27, the South Florida product has little tread on his tires after four years. In 2022, he took just four carries for 17 yards. Johnson also plays special teams, something head coach Doug Pederson wants out of his backup RBs. Johnson took 200 special team snaps last season.

Previously buried on the Browns' depth chart, Johnson now profiles as the No. 2 in Jacksonville behind the shiftier Etienne, who boasts superior receiving skills. The diverse skillsets of the two rushers complement each other well.

After trading James Robinson last year, the Jags lacked a running partner for Etienne. They found that man Wednesday in Johnson. The one-year deal shouldn't preclude the Jags from potentially adding a middle-to-late-round selection in a deep draft at the position.

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