The team said it needed to make a roster move ahead of the upcoming game against the St. Louis Rams. Johnson has struggled so far this season, carrying the ball just five times for two yards.
While the Redskins had a great game passing Sunday, the rushing attack faltered in the 30-27 overtime loss to the Houston Texans. First-string running back Clinton Portis scored twice on the ground, but the Redskins gained only 18 total yards on 17 carries.
Johnson, a D.C. native who signed an incentive-laden, three-year contract with Washington in March, was pulled from Sunday's game after a 10-yard loss in the fourth quarter. He said he was still trying to get used to a reserve role.
Johnson, 30, 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.
In addition to Portis and Johnson, the Redskins gave another back considered past his prime a shot to make the team in the preseason, but Willie Parker didn't make the cut.