FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Adam Gase danced around some questions Monday as to why the Jets cut Jachai Polite four months after taking him in the third round of the NFL Draft. But Gase left little doubt that it wasn’t just Polite’s unimpressive performance on the field.
The Jets reportedly fined Polite more than $100,000 for tardiness and other team violations. Gase would neither confirm nor deny that, but he indicated that off-the-field events were tied to Polite’s release Saturday.
“Everything is factored into everything you do as a football player,” Gase said. “Every guy in the locker room knows that they’re being evaluated for everything they do, especially when it comes to training camp time, being locked in, making sure that you’re doing the right things, meetings, on the field, walk-throughs. Everything is evaluated. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’re being evaluated. That’s the nature of our beast.”
As far as the report on the fines, Gase said: “I’d rather not get into the details of that stuff. What comes out sometimes isn’t always true, sometimes it is. It’s something we’d like to keep in house.”
Another telling statement by Gase.
It was somewhat surprising, though, that the Jets parted ways with Polite. The outside linebacker from Florida once was considered a possible first-round pick. Questions about his character arose before the draft, and it led to Polite slipping into the third round.
Former Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, who ran the 2019 draft for them, thought the reward would be greater than the risk with Polite. But the new regime, led by GM Joe Douglas, felt differently.
Gase and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams both were with the Jets when Polite was chosen 68th overall, but it seems as if not everyone was on board with that pick. Gase was asked if everyone was in agreement, and he wore a coy smile as he evaded the question.
“It’s hard for me to remember exactly what was going on during the draft,” he said. “It’s not really something I’m thinking about nowadays.”
Polite didn’t have much of an impact in practice or the preseason. He finished with five tackles and no sacks in four games. He wasn’t used much on special teams, either.
The Jets chose not to give Polite the opportunity to develop and mature. They instead kept defensive end Kyle Phillips, an undrafted rookie free agent.
Polite landed on the Seahawks’ practice team.
“The body of work of everything that we’ve done since we’ve been here, we felt like Kyle really earned his spot,” Gase said. “That’s what we’re about. We’re about the guys who do it the way we need it done. Best guys are going to make the team.”
Gase also said the Jets, who have a glaring need for an edge rusher, have depth at outside linebacker and wanted more versatile players. Jordan Jenkins is the only proven outside linebacker on the team. Harvey Langi, Frankie Luvu and Tarell Basham looked good at different points in camp.
“We’re deep there, we have a lot of players there,” Gase said. “It’s a tough lineup to crack and we had a certain amount of guys that we wanted to keep. If you are a guy that can play outside linebacker, D-end and D-tackle, that gives us a lot of flexibility. It gives Gregg a lot of flexibility.
“We talked about wanting the best 53. That’s where we ended up going. We felt like that was the roster we ended up, the best 53.”
But Gase also hinted that there would be changes to the roster as Sunday’s opener against Buffalo neared. Several hours later, the Jets placed offensive lineman Brent Qvale (knee) on injured reserve and re-signed ninth-year linebacker Albert McClellan.