After edge defender Quinton Coples was cut by one AFC East team – the Jets – earlier this week, another AFC team – the Dolphins – plucked him off waivers, while a third AFC East team was the only other club to submit a waiver claim for him. According to Field Yates of ESPN.com (via Twitter), the Bills also placed a claim on Coples, but had a lower waiver priority than the division-rival Dolphins due to their slightly better record.
The news doesn’t come as a real surprise. I noted when the Jets released Coples and when the Dolphins claimed him that the Bills would’ve been a logical suitor, given the connection to head coach Rex Ryan, who had the 25-year-old on his defense in New York from 2012 to 2014. However, the Dolphins had a Coples connection of their own — executive VP of football operations Mike Tannenbaum was in New York’s front office when the Jets drafted the North Carolina product in 2012.
When Coples was waived by the Jets, I questioned whether any team would be willing to absorb his contract, which 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 edge defender suffers a significant injury and can’t pass a physical in March, and it seems as if Miami wasn’t the only team open to taking that risk.
By claiming Coples, the Dolphins will also take on the remaining $535K on his 2015 salary, which is fully guaranteed, so the Jets are off the hook for that amount.