Though it’s not the classic implementation of the 54-man roster trick, which entails dumping a vested veteran on a Saturday before the trading deadline and re-signing him on Monday (see Leftwich, Byron), there’s a chance that running back Larry Johnson will be back with the Redskins as soon as next week.
Per a league source, the Redskins needed to sign a running back who can play special teams, given injuries to multiple special teamers.
The move happened today in order to prevent Johnson from incurring a paycheck for the week; at a base salary of $800,000, the move saves more than $47,000.
Meanwhile, the team is willing to take the risk that Johnson will sign elsewhere (Green Bay, anyone?), which tells us that Mike Shanahan doesn’t regard him as a key cog in the big Redskin machine.
UPDATE: Though Johnson is a vested veteran, he isn’t entitled to the balance of his 2010 base salary because he exercised his prerogative in 2009 to recover termination pay from the Chiefs. (Thanks to Chris Russell of ESPN 980 for flagging this issue.)