SUNDAY, 11:07am: Per Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com, Coples was involved in an incident on the Jets’ return flight from Houston last Saturday, which ultimately sealed his fate with the club. The nature of the incident is unclear, but this report adds another layer to what was initially painted as a simple lack of schematic fit. Bowles has clearly established himself as a no-nonsense coach during his first year at the helm, and Cimini writes that his decision to waive Coples rattled the locker room. Bob Glauber of Newsday agrees and believes the move increased the team’s respect for Bowles.
MONDAY, 11:10am: The Jets have made a somewhat surprising roster move, announcing today in a press release that they have parted ways with former first-round pick Quinton Coples, placing the outside linebacker on waivers. If Coples goes unclaimed, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent tomorrow.
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 has become increasingly marginalized. As Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News observed this morning (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.
The Jets had picked up Coples’ fifth-year option for 2016 back in April, but his $7.751MM salary for next year was guaranteed for injury only, so New York won’t have to pay it. If another team decides to claim Coples off waivers, that club would have to take on his current contract, including that option. As such, it would be somewhat risky to claim him and play him for the remainder of this season, since that 2016 salary could become fully guaranteed if he suffers a major injury. The linebacker’s $1.515MM salary for 2015 is also fully guaranteed, so a club claiming him would be on the hook for the final six weeks at that rate.
While Coples’ performance in 2015 won’t necessarily earn him another shot right away, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him generate some interest, particularly if he clears waivers and becomes a free agent. Considering he played under Rex Ryan for the first three years of his NFL career, Coples may appeal to the Bills.