By releasing him now the Bears are giving Pritchett a chance to latch on with another team before heading to training camp.
Pritchett is more of a pass catching fullback then a lead blocker, while Johnson can do both well. While the 6-foot-1, 245-pounder is not much of a threat to run the ball with three carries in four seasons; Johnson has 33 receptions for 314 yards.
Chicago initially showed interest in Johnson, a restricted free agent, before he signed a four-year, $4.1 million offer sheet with the Saints. New Orleans front-loaded the deal in an attempt to keep the Redskins from matching it, which included a $2.1 million cap hit this year.
There is no way Johnson will sit with that kind of money due to him this season. Johnson played in all 48 games for the Redskins the past three years and started 23 in the last two seasons. He was also a standout special-teams player the past three seasons, with 23 tackles in 2001, 21 in 2002 and 20 last season.
Pritchett leaves the Bears after playing in 39 games from 2001-03, including starts in 10 of 16 games last season. He finished in the top five on the team in both rushing and receiving with 21 carries (fifth) for 93 yards (4.4 ypc) with two touchdowns and 18 receptions (fifth) for 83 yards (4.6 ypr). During his tenure in Chicago he recorded 37 receptions for 248 yards and one touchdown and 22 rushes for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
The South Carolina product signed with the Bears as a free agent on Oct. 17, 2001 after starting 42 of 68 career games played in five years with Miami and Philadelphia. The eight-year veteran owns career numbers of 160 receptions for 1,239 yards and seven touchdowns plus 143 carries for 531 yards and five touchdowns. He has participated in seven career post-season games.