Jachai Polite’s career as a Jet lasted only four months and ended before the first regular-season game.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Jets cut Polite, a third-round pick in this year’s draft. Former general manager Mike Maccagnan took Polite with the 68th overall selection, but the outside linebacker out of Florida failed to impress new general manager Joe Douglas and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. He was one of 34 players waived by the Jets on Friday and Saturday.
Some other mildly surprising cuts or notable players let go included quarterbacks Davis Webb and Luke Falk, tight end Eric Tomlinson, wide receivers Deontay Burnett and Charone Peake (who has been a solid special teams player), linebackers Anthony Wint and James Burg- ess and cornerbacks Marcus Cooper and Tevaughn Campbell.
Also released was defensive lineman Justin Alexandre, an Elmont native.
Kicker Taylor Bertolet, who missed three of five field goal attempts in Thursday’s preseason finale, made the initial 53-man roster, but that could change starting Sunday.
The Jets are No. 3 in the waiver claim order, and Douglas said he will take advantage of that spot.
They could go hunting for an edge rusher, a kicker and more help at cornerback. That position has been a glaring issue since the beginning of training camp.
The Jets dumped six cornerbacks Saturday, with Kyron Brown, Alex Brown and Mark Myers joining Cooper and Campbell as cuts. Douglas dealt Parry Nickerson, a sixth-round pick in 2018, to Seattle for a conditional 2021 pick.
Trumaine Johnson, Darryl Roberts, Brian Poole, Nate Hairston and Arthur Maulet are the five cornerbacks on the Jets’ initial 53-man roster.
The Jets also could look at adding a receiver. They kept only five: Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Jamison Crowder, Josh Bellamy and undrafted rookie free agent Greg Dortch, who will return punts.
Douglas is expected to be active claiming, signing or acquiring players in trades whom he and coach Adam Gase believe can help the Jets. They apparently didn’t feel Polite can develop into a player who fit that description.
It’s telling, given that the Jets need an edge rusher and Polite was considered one of the better ones coming out of college this year. But some character issues came up while he interviewed with teams and he fell from a potential first-rounder to No. 68 to the Jets. Now he is looking for work.
Polite didn’t make much of an impact in practice — he played mostly with the third team — or in the preseason. He had only five tackles and no sacks in four games. Playing for his job in Thursday’s preseason finale, Polite had no solo tackles and one assist.
There were some indications leading up to cut weekend that Polite could be on the outs.
Last Saturday, Douglas was asked about the Jets’ need for an edge rusher. He named several outside linebackers who had impressed him in camp — Jordan Jenkins, Tarell Basham, Harvey Langi and Frankie Luvu — and conspicuously never mentioned Polite.
Last week, Gase didn’t give Polite a ringing endorsement when he was asked about him and mentioned the same players as Douglas.
“ . . . The big thing for us is setting the edge, making sure we’re doing a good job in the run game,” he said. “As far as pass rushing goes, it’s about applying pressure to the quarterback. It might not come out as sacks. I think there’s been some good and there’s been times where we get him running around the quarterback, and that’s what we want to avoid doing.
“That’s why you see those guys that are kind of out there with that first group, they do what Gregg wants exactly the way he wants. That’s why Jenkins is so important, how [Brandon] Copeland does it, Harvey and Luvu. Those guys and Basham, they do such a good job of trying to do exactly what the defense calls for.”
Other players cut were backs Elijah McGuire and Valentine Holmes, receivers Quincy Adeboyejo, Jeff Smith, Deonte Thompson and Tim White, offensive linemen Calvin Anderson, Ryan Anderson, Ben Braden, Wyatt Miller, Jordan Morgan, Eric Smith and Jon Toth, defensive linemen MyQuon Stout and Trevon Sanders, linebackers Stephone Anthony and Jamey Mosley, safeties Godwin Igwebuike and Derrick Kindred, and punter Matt Darr.
Copeland and tight end Chris Herndon will start the season on the suspended list. Cornerback Bless Austin was placed on the non-football injury list.