The NY Jets shocked their fans by releasing their former first-round pick Quinton Coples which sent a clear and stern message to the rest of the team.
The Jets did what made most sense for their team by releasing Coples. He was having a lackluster season and other players before him on the depth chart were able make more of an impact. It made sense to cultivate the young talent at the linebacker position by giving them more opportunities with the extra spot on the roster Coples was taking up.
Jets release of Quinton Coples sends a strong message to locker room. Pedigree doesn’t matter. As a wise man once said: No free lunches.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) November 23, 2015
No one is safe. That should be the resounding message in the Jets’ locker room immediately following this move. Though to me this seems like almost a responsive move to the criticism of head coach Todd Bowles in a loss to the Houston Texans. The New York media questioned Bowles insistence on playing rookie Devin Smith over other proven commodities due to draft status.
On the surface, cutting a former first-round pick in the middle of the season almost sporadically without any early indication just seems odd. Reports are continuing to churn out across social media about why Coples was released and here are some of the highlights:
Joel Corry: “Claiming Quinton Coples off waivers costs a fully GTD $534,840 this year & includes taking his $7.751M 2016 option year GTD for injury now.”
Manish Mehta: “Coples clearly wasn’t a good fit. He hadn’t produced to the level of a first rounder… and Bowles had marginalized him.”
Connor Hughes: “Giants, Patriots, Bills a few teams I wouldn’t be surprised to hear put claims in for Coples. Still believe he can make plays in 4-3 defense.”
Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles prior to a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Coples, the 16th pick in 2012 NFL Draft, had 16.5 sacks, including 6.5 last year. He only played in 5 snaps vs. the Texans. Let’s talk about Connor Hughes’ point with the next step in this process, where does Coples go from here? He is going to get picked up off of waivers, I have no doubt. Of course everyone is jumping on the Coples to Buffalo bandwagon and that certainly makes a lot of sense.
Another name on Hughes’ list should scare Jets fans to death: the New England Patriots. If truly the only reason the Jets cut Coples was because of scheme fit, they should be disgusted. Why release him now? If you just wanted another roster spot available since clearly he can’t make it on the field, why not just throw Coples on IR?
That would make much more sense. You could evaluate trade options and you could make sure he doesn’t hurt your team (like a rival picking him up). If he doesn’t fit your schemes fine, but he is going to be a good player in this league. He is best utilized when his hand is in the dirt and he’s rushing the passer.
Exactly what a team like the Bills, Patriots or even the Giants would be willing to take a flier on. Coples is still a physical specimen at 6’6 and 250 pounds as he will find a new home sooner rather then later. It sends a message to the team that some players could be gone regardless of prior pedigree: Dee Milliner, Demario Davis or even Geno Smith just to name a few.