NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Mike DeVito doesn’t want to be seen as the first victim of big rookie defensive lineman Quinton Coples. He heard the speculation about his playing time as soon as the Jets drafted the standout from North Carolina.
Even coach Rex Ryan declared the Coples a starter before quickly backtracking.
As far as DeVito is concerned, he’ll just keep going about his business – even if it means fewer snaps.
“I’m glad to see that we got Quinton,” DeVito told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “I mean, the more talent we can add, the better. I want to be on a team that has guys that want to win and guys who can add to our defense, and he’s one of those guys.”
One of the effects of Coples coming to the Jets was evident when New York reduced DeVito’s salary this season by about $610,000 after drafting him No. 16 overall. The 27-year-old DeVito preferred not to get into details of the negotiations involved in the new deal, but several bonuses could allow him to recoup most of the money from the original contract.
“Whatever it took that was best for me and my family and make it work between the Jets and I was my main goal,” DeVito said. “I’m glad it did work out that I could be here another year and my focus is football.”
DeVito signed a three-year extension in 2009 – Ryan recently pointed out it was the first player move the team made when he took over as coach – that would have paid him $2.26 million in base salary this season. Instead, he will earn a fully guaranteed base of $700,000 in the final year of his deal but will receive several bonuses that will make his total salary about $2.5 million this season – $610,000 less than he was originally supposed to receive. The new deal includes a $750,000 escalator that he can earn based on playing time.
The Jets are “unlikely” to cut DeVito, the New York Post reported, because the lineman has already earned a $500,000 roster bonus and a $350,000 bonus for workouts.
“I’m just glad we were able to come to an agreement, and that was what was most important,” he said, adding that he has no resentment or bitterness toward the team or Coples. “As far as the future, I really feel that it’s all about what you put out there on the field, so if I go out there and play well and do what I’m capable of doing, then I think everything will work itself out. That’s the mindset I’m taking.”
DeVito has been a starting defensive end for much of the last two seasons, a terrific run stopper who can play all along the line. He signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Maine in 2007, and has played his way into becoming a key part of Ryan’s defense. He intends to continue to be so this season, even with Coples expected to play a lot as a rookie.
“Competition makes everybody better,” DeVito said. “I could get into what everybody’s saying or whatever. It’s about what I do. I’m confident in my abilities and what I can do and what I can put out there, so I’m not too worried about how everything will play out and all that. I’m just glad we added a great player to our defense.”
DeVito thinks he and Coples will be able to teach each other to become better players, and added that new defensive line coach Karl Dunbar will help everyone improve. The Jets have lots of depth on the line, perhaps more than they’ve ever had since Ryan has been coach with DeVito, Coples, Sione Pouha, Muhammad Wilkerson, Marcus Dixon and Kenrick Ellis.
“It makes us so much more multiple up front and more versatile when you add guys like Quinton,” DeVito said. “You can put different guys in different places and cause a lot of confusion for offenses. All of those guys can play all the spots. I mean, Mo can go and play nose, I can go out and play end in a three-technique. Coples is going to be able to play all those spots. When you have that, it opens everything up and there’s just so much you can do with your defense.”
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