"When you sit down with (head coach) Freddie (Kitchens) and the coaching staff, they see him as a vital part of this offense moving forward," general manager John Dorsey told reporters Thursday. "He is a good playmaker."
Johnson has wanted out of Cleveland since February when the Browns added another high-profile running back, Kareem Hunt, to their backfield. Hunt and second-year star Nick Chubb are expected to share duties in 2019, though the former will miss the first eight games of the campaign due to suspension.
The 25-year-old Johnson received just 40 carries last season but was valuable in the passing game for the fourth straight year. He's been one of the most reliable pass-catching running backs in the league since Cleveland drafted him in 2015.
"He understands the role that he is going to play within this offense," Dorsey said. "That is what is important, because Duke - as everybody knows - is a very talented playmaker, and I look forward to seeing him on the field on Sundays."
The Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, and New York Jets were all reported to be interested in Johnson at various points this offseason.
Johnson didn't join the Browns for the beginning of voluntary workouts. Dorsey said he hasn't spoken to Johnson or his representatives about whether he'll report to the team for mandatory minicamp in early June.
In 16 games last season, Johnson rushed for 201 yards and caught 47 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns.