On Wednesday, wide receiver Mecole Hardman became the latest Kansas City Chiefs player to find a new home, according to multiple reports. Hardman is heading to the New York Jets after agreeing to a one-year deal with the club that provides him a chance to make $6.5 million.
Hardman, 25, joined the Chiefs as a second-round pick out of Georgia during the 2019 NFL Draft. With off-the-field reports raising questions about the status of wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Kansas City selected Hardman in what was then widely thought to be a bit of an insurance policy. But no matter what, Hardman’s 4.33 40-yard dash time would ensure Kansas City would have a speedy receiver.
As the story goes, Hill remained available — which left Hardman with more of a gadget role throughout his four-year stint in Kansas City. Hardman’s best season came in 2021, as he accumulated 59 catches for 693 yards and two touchdowns — as well as eight carries for 46 rushing yards. He was named a second-team All-Pro as a returner in 2019.
Hardman faced injuries throughout the 2022 season — his contract year — which led to appearances in only eight regular-season games. Head coach Andy Reid was vocal regarding Hardman pushing through injury to make it back for the AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, when he had four touches for 17 yards. After reinjuring himself during the conference title game, he could not participate in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVII victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. He had successful core muscle surgery in late February.
Hardman has faced crowded receiver rooms throughout his time in Kansas City. That will be the case again in New York, which has a budding young receiver, Garrett Wilson, and veterans Allen Lazard and Corey Davis on the roster.
His new quarterback is presumably Aaron Rodgers, who may finally face Patrick Mahomes when the Chiefs visit the Jets in 2023. Should he remain healthy, Hardman will have an opportunity to play against his old team.