Johnson joined the Bengals in 2009, then signed a long-term contract before the 2010 season. He played just seven games last year and recorded 10 tackles before his season was cut short in October by a knee injury.
The 29-year-old University of Washington product was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2004 draft and spent three seasons with the Bears, who released him in June of 2007 following a number of off-field issues.
Included in those problems was an arrest on weapons charges and a subsequent eight-game suspension from the league that cost him the first eight games of the 2007 season. He played 2007 and 2008 with Dallas before signing with Cincinnati.
In seven NFL seasons, Johnson has 135 tackles and 14 sacks.
The Bengals on Tuesday also waived tight end Garrett Mills.