Brinkley’s release is surprising considering he signed a one-year contract in March that included $1.7 million guaranteed. He started nine games for the Giants last season and was the team’s third-leading tackler.
Brinkley had been battling Kelvin Sheppard for the starting middle linebacker job in training camp.
The addition of Johnson, who was cut this past weekend by the Baltimore Ravens, now gives the Giants three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster for the first time since 2013.
Johnson, 30, has played in 29 games for the Buccaneers, Browns and Bengals, starting five. He’s completed 54.2 percent of his passes for 1,042 yards with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has also played for the 49ers, Colts and Bills and spent last preseason with the Jets, but he hasn’t thrown a pass in a regular season game since 2013.
The signing of Johnson comes two days after coach Ben McAdoo said he was “very comfortable” entering the season with Eli Manning and Ryan Nassib as the only QBs on the roster.