Johnson was part of a trio of accomplished veteran running backs at the Redskins' training camp, and two of those players are now gone. Willie Parker was cut at the end of preseason, while Clinton Portis has remained the team's No. 1 back.
To replace Johnson, the Redskins agreed to terms with Chad Simpson, a third-year back who was cut by the Buffalo Bills at the end of preseason. Unlike Johnson, Simpson is known as a regular contributor on special teams.
The moves came two days after Johnson lost 10 yards trying to reverse field on a first-down run in the fourth quarter of Washington's 30-27 overtime loss to the Houston Texans. It was a critical play that forced the Redskins into a passing situation when they would have been expected to milk the clock with a 10-point lead.
The 30-year-old Johnson, a Maryland native, signed a three-year, incentive-laden contract with Washington in March in hopes of reviving his career.
"I'm very upset, didn't see this coming," Johnson said in a statement released through his agent. "But most importantly this is where I wanted to end my career, a place where I was born and raised most of my life. ... So all my eggs were in this basket."
Johnson finished last season with the Cincinnati Bengals after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs in November. His time in Kansas City was marred by off-the-field problems, including two suspensions in his last 12 months with the team.
Johnson's best years were 2005-06, when he had consecutive 1,750-yard seasons. He has run for more than 6,000 yards in the NFL.