Should Jets consider moving off of former All-Pro receiver?

mecole hardman, new york jets

New York Jets wide receiver Mecole Hardman had his name echo through TV speakers every week as a featured pass-catcher for the Kansas City Chiefs, but since arriving at MetLife Stadium, his number has barely been called. The Jets are reportedly considering trading the 2019 Second-Team All-Pro pass catcher.

Mecole Hardman Battling Frustration in Jets’ Rotation With a Stay-Ready Attitude

Justin Terranova of the New York Post shared Hardman’s thoughts on his diminished role and how he is keeping the right attitude despite a lack of playing time and a now expendable status on the team, saying:

“I just gotta keep working, keep getting familiar with the offense, keep building trust with the staff and hopefully waiting for my opportunity to come. When they do, take advantage. … When they dial something up for me, I’ll make sure I make it count.”

Hardman voiced his discontent further by expressing how surprised he’s been about his lack of snaps. The Jets are coming off of a strong Week 5 behind strong play from RB Breece Hall, and they are showing signs that they can overcome the injury to star QB Aaron Rodgers and be competitive this year. Hardman’s talent as a pass catcher can help make stand-in QB Zach Wilson’s life easier, but does he still have traces of his All-Pro level productivity in him?

Injuries and a Productive Jets Receiving Corp. Keeping Hardman Out of the Rotation

In his last full season with the Chiefs, Hardman started in eight of his 17 games played and compiled a career-high 693 receiving yards. He was fixated as Patrick Mahomes’ third option behind WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce and was looked for with regularity on first down opportunities.

A core muscle injury in the midst of the 2022 season limited Hardman to eight games played and initiated his decrease in action. He had successful surgery for the ailment that offseason but had another injury scare in the Jets’ final preseason game with a feared dislocated finger that he quickly bounced back from without having to miss time.

Hardman lies at the bottom of a Jets depth chart at wideout that currently has WR Garrett Wilson and slot receiver Allen Lazard playing well. Wilson has also looked for TE Tyler Conklin, with the second-most targets and highest catch percentage among the three.

Even WR Randall Cobb, 33, has received more opportunities than the 25-year-old former two-time Super Bowl Champion. Hardman’s age and limited injury suggest that he can round into form if he looks for more. In the meantime, Hardman’s attitude in staying ready is the best course of action should a receiver ahead of him go down. Until Hardman can boost his value on the field, trading him may not get enough back in return.

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