Polite was selected by general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was fired three weeks after the draft. At the time, Maccagnan admitted it was a calculated risk because of character concerns. The new regime, headed by GM Joe Douglas and coach Adam Gase, never warmed to Polite even though they’re desperate for an edge rusher.
Another former Maccagnan pick, cornerback Parry Nickerson, was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2021 conditional seventh-round pick on Saturday. Nickerson, a 2018 sixth-round pick, was not expected to make the Jets’ final roster.
Polite, a former Florida standout, played 100 defensive snaps in four preseason games, but he registered only three tackles and had no sacks. He failed to establish a role on special teams, which was telling. Also telling was a recent interview in which Douglas, discussing his options at outside linebacker, failed to mention Polite.
“I think there’s been some good and there’s been some times where we get him running around the quarterback, and that’s what we want to avoid doing,” Gase said last week. “We just got to keep cleaning up his technique.”
Polite was considered a possible first-round pick after recording 11 sacks last season for the Gators, but his stock plunged in the offseason. He slipped to the 68th pick, which probably cost him $10 million in his contract.
He bombed the scouting combine, showing up at 258 pounds (more than 20 above his playing weight), running a slow 40-yard dash (4.84 seconds), skipping the rest of the drills because of a hamstring injury and telling the media that certain teams “bashed” him in private interviews.
At his pro day, Polite injured his other hamstring and failed to break 5.0 seconds in the 40-yard dash (5.04 by the Jets’ time). After the draft, two scouts, representing two different teams, told ESPN there were questions about his work ethic and commitment to football.