Each player is a "vested" veteran, meaning they have played at least three and half years in the NFL, their contracts would be fully guaranteed if they are on an opening day roster. Johnson, 29, would be owed $745,000 if he's on an opening day roster.
Because Flynn, 30, already collected termination pay when the Oakland Raiders cut him two years ago, he does not have a fully guaranteed contract even if he makes the opening day roster. He would stand to make $875,000 if he's on the roster for the entire season.
If the Jets are willing to cut both before the season opener, they could resign one the next day when their contract would no longer be guaranteed. Should that occur, rookie Bryce Petty would in all likelihood be the backup QB in week 1.
This would then allow the Jets to cut a QB at a minimal cost when the injured Geno Smith is ready to return.
Bent, theJetsBlog.com: This is obviously an option for the Jets, who did something similar with Brady Quinn a few years ago (although they never actually got to the stage where they signed him back). Unfortunately, I would view this as a reckless move by the Jets just to save a small amount of money. I don't have faith in the rookie Bryce Petty to beat the Browns if called into emergency action and if the Jets lose that game, there's a good chance they'll be 2-3 games behind the Patriots before they get Sheldon Richardson back after the bye. Everyone will then second-guess the move. I'd rather they just ate that money to be on the safe side. The last two regimes had a habit of taking chances like this and then seeing them backfire (Mangold 2011, CB situation 2014), so I'd hope this regime is more thorough in preparing for every eventuality.
I don't see this as a viable solution for the Jets. The team is not looking to throw Bryce Petty unnecessarily into the New York media hype train dumpster fire at this point in time should something unfortunate happen like Ryan Fitzpatrick gets injured. I saw that evidence last night in the team's unwillingness to play him in the last preseason game of the season and let Josh Johnson and Matt Flynn battle it out. It's a good thought as a way to save some cash and the Jets roster spots are probably a harder to come by this year, but more than likely the team will eat the roster spot issues at quarterback until Geno is ready to get medical clearance as the team's true backup.