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Jets cut quarterbacks Matt Flynn, Josh Johnson

New York Jets quarterback Matt Flynn looks to

New York Jets quarterback Matt Flynn looks to throw during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

The Jets are rolling the dice with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty in Week 1.

In a surprising twist, backup quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Josh Johnson were released as the team slashed its roster to 53 before Saturday's 4 p.m. deadline.

"Thanks for the opportunity #nyjets, but it looks like I am headed back home to Louisiana. Looking forward to what's next!" Flynn tweeted before posting a photo of the Bloody Mary he was getting ready to imbibe.

As of now, it seems the Jets are prepared to head into the regular season with two healthy quarterbacks and Geno Smith, who is recovering from a broken jaw stemming from an Aug. 11 locker-room altercation with linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali.

At the time, Smith was given a recovery timetable of six to 10 weeks. The latest roster moves could be a sign that he will be returning to action sooner than expected.

Flynn made a strong case for the backup job behind Fitzpatrick after he went 4-for-10 for 136 yards with two touchdown passes and an interception in the first half of Thursday night's win over the Eagles, his only preseason action with the Jets.

Johnson, who was signed on Aug. 27, played the second half of that game and finished 7-for-12 for 82 yards. He also gained 76 yards on seven carries. Had he been on their Week 1 roster, the Jets would have had to pay him his entire salary, $745,000.

That wasn't the case with Flynn. Because he already had collected termination pay in 2013 (after being cut by the Oakland Raiders), he couldn't receive termination pay again from the Jets, who signed him to an $870,000 contract.

The Jets could wait until Week 2 to re-sign another veteran quarterback, thereby avoiding having to pay fully guaranteed salaries.

Another surprising move was the release of receivers Chris Owusu and Walter Powell (Shaq Evans also was released). All three were in competition with Jeremy Kerley for the third receiver spot behind Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.

Owusu was a standout in camp and during the preseason before suffering his fourth concussion since college during a practice last month. Powell also impressed on special teams. But despite speculation that the Jets might try to trade Kerley -- who signed a four-year, $16-million extension last season -- he is safe for now.

The Jets also are in the market for a kick returner and help at tight end.

Other cuts included outside linebacker Jason Babin, running back Daryl Richardson, linebackers Joe Mays, Deion Barnes and Taiwan Jones, tight ends Arthur Lynch and Wes Saxton, defensive ends Ronald Alley and Jordan Williams, offensive linemen Charles Brown and Wesley Johnson, defensive backs Durell Eskridge and Keon Lyn, and fullback Julian Howsare.

The team also placed running back Stevan Ridley on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list and waived cornerback Dashaun Phillips from injured reserve.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and backup guard Oday Aboushi are on the reserve/suspended list and currently do not count toward the active roster.

Aboushi was suspended one regular-season game for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and Richardson, a second-time offender of the same policy, was suspended for four games.

New York Sports