“Michael … is one of those pillars that has been here and has given everything he can to this building,” Lewis said, via Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. “Those are tough decisions and tough conversations to have.”
However, Lewis said that there’s still a chance they could bring Johnson back.
Johnson, 31, is a former third-round pick of the Bengals back in 2009. He spent five years in Cincinnati before joining the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2014.
However, the Buccaneers released Johnson after one year and he elected to return to the Bengals in 2015. Johnson was in the final year of his four-year, $20 million contract and set to earn a base salary of $4.55 million this season when he was released.
In 2017, Johnson appeared in all 16 games for the Bengals and recorded 49 total tackles and five sacks.