Bengals release veteran DE Michael Johnson, put Matt Barkley on IR

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals released veteran defensive end Michael Johnson, the team announced Saturday.

As they cut down to the 53-man roster limit, the Bengals also placed quarterback Matt Barkley on injured reserve with a knee injury he suffered in the preseason finale against the Indianapolis Colts.

Johnson, 31, has been a mainstay on the Bengals' defense since he was taken in the third round of the 2009 draft. Johnson left the Bengals for one season to sign a five-year, $43.75 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. However, injuries limited him and he was released after just one year.

Johnson re-signed with the Bengals in 2015 and resumed his starting role in their 4-3 base defense, although his responsibilities started to shift last year when the team decided to move him inside to defensive tackle on third downs. The emergence of young players like Sam Hubbard, Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson made Johnson expendable this season.

The Bengals made the unusual move of keeping only eight defensive linemen, which means the team will likely make some roster moves over the next few days. The means the possibility of a reunion with Johnson or another player released on Saturday isn't out of the question.