The New York Jets are down to two healthy quarterbacks.
Matt Flynn and Josh Johnson were among the Jets’ cuts Saturday as they pared their roster to the mandatory 53-player limit.
Flynn and Johnson were signed this summer to compete for a backup role behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, who became the starter after Geno Smith had his jaw broken on Aug. 11 by a punch from then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali. Smith was expected to miss at least the first four games of the regular season.
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The Jets’ only other healthy quarterback is rookie Bryce Petty, a fourth-round pick out of Baylor.
Flynn was signed on Aug. 19, but dealt with a hamstring issue for most of his short stint with the Jets before making his debut in the preseason finale against Philadelphia. He went 10 of 14 for 136 yards with two TDs and an interception, while Johnson was 7 of 12 for 82 yards and had 76 yards rushing on seven carries in his first action with New York after being signed on Aug. 27.
"It’ll be tough," coach Todd Bowles said that night of choosing between Flynn and Johnson. "They bring different dynamics to the game."
It turned out the choice was neither, although the Jets could still re-sign one of them after Week 1 to avoid having to pay a guaranteed salary.
Flynn thanked the Jets through his Twitter account, and then tweeted: "For now, it’s (hash)bloodymary time" — with a photo of a cocktail garnished with celery, olives and two strips of bacon.
Among the Jets’ other notable cuts were veteran linebacker Jason Babin and wide receivers Chris Owusu and Walter Powell.
Running back Stevan Ridley was placed on the reserve-physically unable to perform list while he continues to heal from torn knee ligaments that have kept him sidelined since last October, when he got hurt while playing for New England. He was signed by the Jets in the offseason, but did not practice or play in the preseason.
Defensive end Sheldon Richardson and guard Oday Aboushi were placed on the suspended list. Richardson must sit out the first four games of the season after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and is facing possible additional discipline after being charged with resisting arrest in July and keeping it from the team, a violation of the personal conduct policy.
Aboushi was suspended for one game, also for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, after he was pulled over for a traffic violation in January and police found a small amount of marijuana in his car.
Babin’s release was a mild surprise after he had two sacks in 16 games last season. But he is 35, and the Jets have promising youngsters in Trevor Reilly and Lorenzo Mauldin at outside linebacker. Calvin Pace also will be back despite being 34 and missing some time toward the end of camp with a groin injury.
It was believed the Jets would keep either Owusu or Powell — if not both — after strong camps, and their departures leave New York without a kick returner on the roster. That’s a position the Jets could address Sunday when players cut on Saturday clear waivers.
Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley was thought to be in some trouble after working with the backups most of the summer while second-year receiver Quincy Enunwa saw lots of time with the starters. Both made the initial roster. Shaquelle Evans, a fourth-round draft pick last year, was cut.
Also released by the Jets were: tight ends Arthur Lynch and Wes Saxton; running back Daryl Richardson; fullback Julian Howsare; offensive linemen Charles Brown and Wesley Johnson; defensive linemen Ronald Talley and Jordan Williams; linebackers Deion Barnes, Taiwan Jones and Joe Mays; cornerback Keon Lyn; and safety Durell Eskridge.
Teams can assemble up to a 10-man practice squad starting Sunday afternoon.