The moves put the Jets' roster at 75 players, the maximum that teams must be at by Tuesday night.
Ford's release was a mild surprise since he was listed as the Jets' top kickoff returner. He was signed in April after having limited action last season in Oakland. Ford had three catches this preseason.
''Jacoby had been given a lot of opportunities,'' coach Rex Ryan said. ''I still think he has a chance. ... There seemed to be some struggles.''
Saalim Hakim and Clyde Gates are the top candidates to replace him as New York's kick returner.
''We just felt that we had better options on this football team for our current situation right now,'' Ryan said. ''For his benefit, to have an early release like this may provide him an opportunity to maybe catch on with another team. We feel that the guys that we kept, we felt better about.''
Dowling, signed last season to the practice squad, dealt with foot and groin injuries during training camp.
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