Willis nearly played his way on to the 53-man roster based on what he did in the preseason. He showed an ability to make some ridiculous catches, and he outplayed most of the wide receivers on the team. It just wasn't enough to actually make the 53-man roster, though. The Lions just didn't have enough room to keep Willis around as the fifth wide receiver, which is disappointing, because he really deserved to stick around.
Johnson's release comes as a bit of surprise. Johnson was originally a second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings. He was added in 2012 and seemed to be a good addition to the special teams unit. Alas, he fell on the wrong side of the numbers game this year, and the Lions decided to part ways with him.
The Lions are now down to 61 players on their roster.