<
>

New York Jets cut 19 players, including QBs Matt Flynn, Josh Johnson

After cutting Matt Flynn and Josh Johnson (not pictured), the only healthy QB behind starter Ryan Fitzpatrick is rookie Bryce Petty. Al Pereira/Getty Images North America

A few takeaways on the New York Jets' roster cuts on Saturday, as they trimmed the roster from 75 to 53.

Most significant move: The overhyped battle for the temporary No. 2 quarterback job -- Matt Flynn versus Josh Johnson -- ended with no winner. Both players were released, a mildly surprising development because it leaves only two healthy quarterbacks -- starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Bryce Petty. Geno Smith (broken jaw) still is a few weeks away. Their current plan is to ride with Fitzpatrick and Petty until Smith is healthy. It's a calculated risk, and they know it. They didn't want to cut another player -- i.e. a lower-round draft pick that will never see the field -- for the sake of a short-term quarterback who will be cut in a month anyway. This doesn't appear to be money driven. In Flynn's case, they could've put him on the opening-day roster without having to guarantee his entire salary; the reason is because he received termination pay in the past. It was simply a football decision. They'd better hope Fitzpatrick doesn't get hurt.

Youth movement: It's tough to make a roster under a new coach when you're a 30-and-over backup. Such was the case with linebackers Jason Babin, 35, and Joe Mays, 30. The Jets have an older starting group, led by David Harris, 31, and Calvin Pace, 34, so the goal is to infuse the position with young talent and develop those players to be starters in the future. One of those players is rookie Lorenzo Mauldin, a third-round pick. Babin played 45 percent of the defensive snaps last season, but he finished with only two sacks -- and pass-rushing is his specialty. Camp injuries to Pace (groin) and Mauldin (knee) fueled speculation that Babin would make the team, but the Jets evidently believe Pace and Mauldin will be fine for the season opener. They also have second-year player Trevor Reilly in reserve. Babin, a two-time Pro Bowl selection in his prime, was due to count $1.65 million on the cap, hardly outrageous. This wasn't a financial decision; it was based on getting younger and faster.

What’s next: The Jets have a lot of work to do. They need a kickoff returner because they cut their top two guys, Chris Owusu and Walter Powell, both wide receivers. They may give running back Zac Stacy a chance to win the job. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley appears safe and is the leading candidate to return punts. By releasing Owusu, Powell and Shaquelle Evans, they have only four healthy receivers -- assuming Kerley is over his concussion. They're down to two tight ends, and they will be exploring options over the next 24 hours. Ditto, center; they cut backup Wesley Johnson. They kept 11 defensive backs, but don't be surprised if Dee Milliner, recovering from wrist surgery, is placed on short-term injured reserve. The deadline is 4 p.m. Sunday.

Jets moves: Placed on the reserve/suspended list: DE Sheldon Richardson (four games), G Oday Aboushi (one game). Placed on reserve/PUP: RB Stevan Ridley. Released: QB Matt Flynn, QB Josh Johnson, RB Daryl Richardson, FB Julian Howsare, WR Chris Owusu, WR Shaquelle Evans, WR Walter Powell, TE Wes Saxton, TE Arthur Lynch, OT Charles Brown, C Wesley Johnson, DE Ronald Talley, DE Jordan Williams, LB Jason Babin, LB Joe Mays, LB Taiwan Jones, LB Deion Barnes, CB Keon Lyn, S Durell Eskridge.