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Posted 23 Nov 2015Former first-round draft pick Quinton Coples, whose playing time has steadily decreased throughout the season, was waived Monday by the New York Jets -- perhaps a move by coach Todd Bowles to shake up his slumping team.
Coples, the 16th overall pick in 2012, played a season-low five defensive snaps in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Houston Texans, the team's fourth defeat in the past five games. In the past three games, he played a total of 20 snaps on defense.
Bowles insisted he wasn't trying to make a statement by cutting Coples, saying, "It was a business move, it was nothing personal." He said there were no off-the-field issues that factored into the decision.
"We're just trying to play good football players," he said. "We're trying to play guys that want to play and guys that are ready to play. Obviously, along the way, whether we're winning or losing, we have to make business decisions going forward. This was just one of them."
Quinton Coples had 16.5 sacks for the Jets since being selected in the first round of the 2012 draft. Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images
The Jets have a plan to fill the roster spot, but Bowles wouldn't divulge it. They might add an experienced kickoff returner, an ongoing problem spot.
In 10 games, Coples produced only 12 tackles and had no sacks, giving him only 16.5 sacks in his four-year run in New York.
Coples began the season as a starting outside linebacker, but his playing time fell off in recent weeks as the team began using a 4-3 front. He was drafted because of his pass-rushing prowess, but he was removed from most of the pass-rushing packages -- a telltale sign he had fallen out of favor with the new coaching staff.
Bowles and the coaches insisted throughout the season that they weren't disappointed in Coples' play, but their actions spoke louder than words.
In Houston, the Jets replaced the injured Sheldon Richardson with career backup Leger Douzable, who played a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker position in their alternating fronts. In the past, it would've been Coples' role.
Coples was drafted by the previous administration, which picked him over Chandler Jones, who was selected a few picks later by the New England Patriots. There was a split in the Jets organization, but former general manager Mike Tannenbaum sided with then-coach Rex Ryan, who lobbied for Coples.
The Jets never figured out where to use Coples. He started out as a defensive lineman, but he was moved to outside linebacker in 2013. Oversized for a linebacker at 6-foot-6, 290 pounds, he struggled in space and never found a niche.
Bowles acknowledged that Coples wasn't a fit for the defensive scheme.
"I think he was a better inside player than he was an outside player, but we've got a slew of guys inside, including drafting Leonard [Williams] in the first round," Bowles said. "As an outside player, I thought he was OK, but we need a little more speed on the field for what we're trying to do. He just got caught up in the tweener status for us. It doesn't mean he can't play. It just wasn't a fit for us because of the depth we have inside."
Coples signed a fully guaranteed four-year, $8.8 million contract. This pat spring, the Jets exercised their fifth-year option for $7.8 million in 2016 -- guaranteed at the time for injury only. The Jets no longer owe him that money, and it's wiped off their salary cap.
The Jets have only two players remaining from their eight-man draft class in 2012 -- starting linebacker Demario Davis, a third-round choice, and seventh-round safety Antonio Allen (injured reserve). A year ago, they cut wide receiver Stephen Hill, a second-round bust.
Posted 3 Nov 2015Keep your ear to the ground today guys...
Could QB-needy Jets pull off a trade for 49ers' Colin Kaepernick?
So this is interesting.
The New York Jets are in such bad shape at quarterback they claim to have no idea who will start Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Truth be told, this isn't just a this-week problem; their quarterback issue stretches beyond 2015.
While the Jets are looking for an answer, the San Francisco 49ers have reportedly benched their one-time franchise quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. The timing is most curious, considering the NFL trade deadline is 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
Could the Jets make a trade for Kaepernick? Logistically, it's not out of the question.
That massive six-year, $114 million contract he signed last year is team-friendly because there is no fully guaranteed money beyond what's owed to him for the remainder of this season, $5.5 million. He has six years, $77.2 million left on the deal, through 2020, but it's deceiving.
Right now, Kaepernick's 2016 salary ($11.9 million) is guaranteed for injury only -- which, of course, would present a risk for the Jets if he were to suffer a severe injury this year. It could put them on the hook for that $11.9 million. The salary becomes fully guaranteed next April 1.
The bigger question: Is Kaepernick salvageable? He's having a poor season, continuing a two-year decline. There have been reports that he has alienated teammates. On the other hand, we're talking about a quarterback who started in the Super Bowl after the 2012 season ... a player with a 4-2 playoff record ... a guy who is only 26 years old. In fact, he turns 26 today.
The way Kaepernick's deal is structured, the Jets could bring him on for the remainder of the season without having to make a long-term commitment. In essence, he'd be a hired gun, charged with getting a win-now team to the playoffs. If it doesn't work out, they can cut or trade him before April 1.
On Monday, Todd Bowles was cagey when discussing Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and his options. No doubt, there was an element of gamesmanship in his comments, especially if they're exploring trades -- and he acknowledged they are. Bowles didn't want to tip his hand or hurt the team's leverage in trade talks, so he basically revealed nothing.
At one point, he didn't rule out the possibility of this week's starter not being on the current roster. Hmm. He'd have to be a pretty accomplished player to walk in and be handed the starting job.
The 49ers probably could get more for Kaepernick by waiting to the offseason, when teams are in a re-booting mode. Right now, it would depend on a team such as the Jets succumbing to desperation, making an offer they can't refuse.
Hey, the Jets might be desperate. I find it hard to believe Fitzpatrick (torn ligament in non-throwing thumb) will be ready anytime soon. Do they really want to entrust their season to a banged-up Smith?
Obviously, there are many variables to a potential trade. Would the Jets surrender a high draft pick? Would they include someone such as linebacker Quinton Coples? We know general manager Mike Maccagnan isn't afraid of high-profile moves. Dealing for Kaepernick would be a game-changer, a season-changer and, potentially, a franchise-changer.
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