Both Johnson, a rookie, and Ward are starters for a defense that allows 22.1 points per game. Johnson made eight starts, played in 10 games and finished with 35 tackles. His role expanded when Scott Fujita sustained a season-ending neck injury. Ward had 68 tackles and one interception.
With the available roster spots, Cleveland signed defensive back Prince Miller and linebacker Adrian Moten. The Browns also elevated defensive lineman Hall Davis from the practice squad to the active roster.
Cleveland (5-9) will close the season vs. Denver (11-3) and Pittsburgh (7-7).