The New York Jets have sent wide receiver Mecole Hardman back to the Kansas City Chiefs, reuniting the former Second-team All-Pro honoree with the team that drafted him in exchange for draft capital.
What The Jets Got Back For Hardman Speaks Volume to His Role on the Team
ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared the news on Twitter yesterday:
Hardman was relegated to only one reception for six yards and never made a splash in the Jets’ rotation. He was targeted a total of three times in five games and voiced his bewilderment toward his role on the team shortly before being dealt.
Wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard have been the main recipients of quarterback Zach Wilson’s offensive focus. They, along with tight end Tyler Conklin, lead New York in receiving yards.
The Jets need help in the receiving department as they are a bottom-10 team in completions (110), completion percentage (60.1 percent), and 1st downs (50). The team passed on the opportunity to shake up the offense and feature Hardman as a new weapon against opposing defenses. Failing to bring back a receiver in the deal leaves their receiving situation in a state of stasis.
On to Greener Pastures For the Five-Year Wideout
Hardman rejoins Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City and will compete with several pass-catchers for time on the field. Mahomes has spread the ball wide in the wake of Tyreek Hill’s departure, with six receivers having 100 or more yards on the year.
Nevertheless, Hardman and Mahomes have pre-existing chemistry together, and the Chiefs present the best opportunity for Hardman to increase his snap count while competing for a Super Bowl. In four seasons under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, Hardman averaged 13.8 yards per reception and caught 16 touchdowns while predominantly operating out of the slot.
The Chiefs are 5-1 atop the AFC West and have the luxury of bringing Hardman along slowly. Whether or not he can mirror his days as an All-Pro wideout is up to how head coach Andy Reid deploys him.
The Jets’ 23-20 loss to the Chiefs in Week 4 marks the only time the two teams will face off in 2023, so they won’t have to worry about Hardman coming for blood against his now-former team.