A day after being cut by the Jets, edge defender Quinton Coples will join another AFC East team, but perhaps not the one that many were expecting. According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (via Twitter), the Dolphins have claimed Coples off waivers.
Many NFL observers, myself included, believed that the Bills were a candidate to grab Coples, given the connection to former Jets head coach Rex Ryan. However, the Dolphins also have a Coples connection — executive VP of football operations Mike Tannenbaum was in New York’s front office when the Jets drafted the North Carolina product in 2012. It’s not clear if the Bills put in a claim, since the Dolphins had a higher waiver priority.
Coples, selected 16th overall in the 2012 draft, had his best year as a pro in 2014, but even that amounted to just 35 tackles and 6.5 sacks, modest totals for a first-round pass rusher. Since Todd Bowles took over as the Jets’ head coach, Coples had become increasingly marginalized.
As Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News observed yesterday (via Twitter), the 25-year-old played just five snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Texans, and clearly wasn’t a fit in the current defensive scheme. In Miami, he may be used as a 4-3 defensive end, rather than as a linebacker, which could be a better fit for his style of play.
By claiming Coples, the Dolphins will take on the remaining $535K on his 2015 salary, which is fully guaranteed, so the Jets will be off the hook for that amount. Coples’ deal also includes a $7.751MM salary for 2016, since New York exercised his fifth-year option. That figure is guaranteed for injury only, so the Dolphins won’t have to pay it unless the defender suffers a significant injury and can’t pass a physical in March.