NFL updates, latest league news from Friday, March 11

The Cleveland Browns will allow running back D'Ernest Johnson a chance to check out his worth but leave the door open to keeping him in town.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Browns plan to tender the restricted free agent running back at the right of first refusal, per a source informed of the decision.

The news means that Johnson can sign a one-year tender worth $2.4 million to stick in Cleveland for 2022 before hitting free agency next offseason. Or he can ink a deal with a new club that the Browns will get the chance to match -- the team would get no compensation if they decline.

Johnson came on strong last season as the Browns dealt with injuries and COVID-19 issues. The 26-year-old earned 534 yards on 100 carries with three TDs in 2021. In the two games he started, Johnson generated 146 yards with a TD and 99 yards rushing, respectively.

The South Florida product displayed power to run over defenders, solid vision, and good burst on the second level. He certainly showed he's capable of having a rotational role in a backfield.

The question is whether that will be in Cleveland or elsewhere.

With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt already taking up a sizable chunk of cap space and squeezing Johnson out of playing time, the Browns might decline to match an offer. Cleveland also wants to get Demetric Felton more involved in 2022, making the backfield even more crowded. But if no other team steps to the plate, Cleveland is leaving itself in a position to bring Johnson back for another season.

Roster moves

Retirements

  • The New Orleans Saints announced that veteran linebacker Craig Robertson is retiring from the NFL after 10 seasons. Robertson began his career with the Browns in 2012 and joined the Saints in 2016. For his career, Robertson totaled 556 tackles, nine sacks and 10 interceptions.

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