Qualifying Johnson would have cost Toronto US$14.1 million and given it draft-pick compensation if the right-hander signed with another club. After going 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA, the risk was that the 29-year-old would accept the qualifying offer and take a huge chunk out of the Jays' budget.
Now if Johnson signs elsewhere in Major League Baseball, the Jays will not receive any compensation.
He was acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins last off-season. Johnson made $13.75 million in his only season in Toronto.
Along with Johnson, the Jays will not make qualifying offers to outfielder Rajai Davis and pitchers Ramon Ortiz and Darren Oliver.
Oliver, who made 50 appearances in 2013, will retire at the age of 43.