Less than 24 hours after the Jets finished off an embarrassing 24-17 defeat at the hands of the Houston Texans, the team has announced that waiving of former first-round pick Quinton Coples. The linebacker/defensive lineman played just five snaps against the Texans, and seven a week ago against the Buffalo Bills.
Coples, 25, was originally selected by the Jets with the 16th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Entering the draft following a junior season at North Carolina in which he recorded 59 tackles and 10 sacks, Coples was viewed by scouts as an "ultra athletic" player with a rare combination of size and speed. The biggest knack on Coples was his tendency to sometimes play on "cruise control," but his upside far outweighed any motor issues.
Many viewed Coples as a player that had the ability to play both in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. The Jets, under then-coach Rex Ryan, thought he'd be best fit in a 3-4. That never truly worked out.
From his rookie season in 2012, through the first 10 games of 2015, Coples was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. At 6-6 and 290 pounds, Coples was too big and not fast enough to be effective as a 3-4 pass-rushing outside linebacker, and the Jets depth at 3-4 defensive end ( Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and 2015 first-round pick Leonard Williams) had him relegated to the bench.
Coples watched as he played less and less as the weeks went on this year, reaching a season-low five reps on Sunday.
Earlier this year, there was optimism that new Jets coach Todd Bowles would be able to find a way to best utilize Coples' abilities, which is one of the reasons the team decided to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract just seven months ago. But, with just six games remaining in the season, the Jets have had a change of heart.
In his NFL career, Coples has appeared in 56 games. He's recorded 113 total tackles, 16.5 sacks and four passes defensed. In 2014, Coples set a new career-high with 6.5 sacks. In 10 games this season, Coples had just eight tackles and no sacks.
With Coples not yet through his fourth NFL season, the Jets 'waived,' and did not 'release,' the North Carolina native. Coples is thus not a free agent, and will be thrown onto the "waiver wire." All 31 other NFL teams will have a chance to put a claim in for Coples. Based off of the NFL's standings, whatever team with the highest waiver priority puts a claim in for Coples, will be awarded him.
If no one puts a claim in on Coples, and he thus clears the waiver wire, he becomes a free-agent and free to sign with any team of his choosing.
The waiving of Coples frees a roster spot on the Jets 53-man roster. A corresponding move has not yet been announced.