The Jets’ receiver room has become quite crowded. After bringing in Allen Lazard, the team intends to sign former Chiefs speedster Mecole Hardman, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter).
Thought to be on track for a decent payday, Hardman will settle for a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Hardman’s Jets pact can max out at $6.5MM. Equipped with some new information compared to when free agency started, Hardman will join a Jets team expected to make a rather notable quarterback upgrade.
Aaron Rodgers is likely coming to the Jets, which will put Hardman on the opposite path ex-Chiefs teammate Marquez Valdes-Scantling traversed when he switched from Rodgers to Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. A former second-round pick drafted during Tyreek Hill‘s second major off-field scandal — when it was not certain if the All-Pro would return to the Chiefs — Hardman teamed with Hill for three seasons and was part of Kansas City’s attack after the elite speed merchant left for Miami.
The Chiefs did not have Hardman’s services for Super Bowl LVII, after he reinjured his groin in the AFC championship game. But he played a key role in helping the team along toward another No. 1 seed. Hardman, 25, never became a surefire No. 2 wideout for the Chiefs, but he showed flashes and remains one of the NFL’s fastest wide receivers. The Chiefs often used the Georgia product in the return game and on gadget plays; he displayed his penchant for gadget success last season, scoring three touchdowns (two rushing) in a blowout of the 49ers.
Hardman proved inconsistent in Kansas City, but he still ripped off three straight 500-plus-yard receiving seasons from 2019-21; this included a 693-yard showing in 2021. The Chiefs have now lost Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster. While Kansas City was planning on letting Hardman walk, the defending champions were hoping to re-sign Smith-Schuster. And they expected Hardman to fare better on the market. Coming off groin surgery, the 5-foot-10 pass catcher did not command a hefty commitment. The Chiefs are planning to carve out a bigger role for Kadarius Toney, and Skyy Moore will likely see his responsibilities increase. But the team remains on the hunt for a higher-profile receiver.
As far as the Jets go, Hardman gives the presumptive Rodgers team five notable wideouts. He joins Lazard, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. As of now, it seems like one of the holdovers will not be part of Gang Green’s 2023 equation. With the Jets being able to save $10.5MM by cutting Davis in the final year of his contract, the former top-five pick has been the player most often connected to a departure. Though, Moore did request a trade last year. Hardman’s arrival also stands to impede a Jets pursuit of Odell Beckham Jr., who appeared on Rodgers’ wish list. Rodgers has also been connected to wanting Randall Cobb — ahead of what would be a 13th season — to join the Jets.
As it stands, however, the Jets are making big commitments at receiver — something the Packers did not do last year after they let Valdes-Scantling walk and traded Davante Adams. Rodgers is on track to have an array of options, some of which were held back by the Jets’ QB situation last year, to target as he (assuming this trade crosses the goal line) prepares to change cities.
17 comments on “Jets To Sign WR Mecole Hardman”
Just need someone to throw the ball.
“Done deal,” according to in-the-know reporter.
I’d guess that it’s kind of a done deal, in the way that it’s just a matter of when the Jets cave and give GB a little more value than they’d like, or when GB backs down and takes the current offer.
I doubt there’s an ‘If’ involved anymore. The Jets aren’t starting Wilson next year, and GB isn’t running it back with Rodgers while Love sits again.
The trade has to be finalized, but both sides still have time left to continue this standoff in hopes they can pull things their way. .
It was clear Davis would be gone, I’d guess this could be the end for Moore and/or Mims, too.
He caught 25 passes last year. With Berrios already out, I don’t think this necessarily means anyone else is out.
Well, you had that one right.
Another target for Wilson after Rodgers wakes up and realizes that nobody in the history of the NFL, willingly wants to play for the Jets
I love how the Pack appears to be playing hardball with a guy who’s put them through hell the past few off seasons.
Follow the money
If he can’t catch passes from Mahomes in an Andy Reid offense what makes anybody think he can catch a cold for the Jets? Somebody is quite delusional me thinks.
Hardman has receiver one catch ratio numbers, just under 70% with a health 14 yard average catch. Hardman seems like a solid acquisition. Looks like the Jets are going all-in on offense this off-season.
Hardman is not productive past the first 5 yards of scrimmage. He is good with screens, sweeps and sometimes slants. But he doesn’t fight off coverage, can’t get open or beat the press. He doesn’t fight contested catches well either. He has speed and elusiveness but it needs to be created by schemes on the playbook, he is not going to dig himself out of it. And he is injury prone so dont get too high on him.
Hardman sounds like a terrible receiver. Thanks for letting me know.
In this case how does Hardman catch 69% of the balls thrown his way and maintain an average catch distance of 14 yards?
Yards after catch
Corey Davis is getting cut or traded – which will help Jets cap
Kept waiting for this guy to take the next step in his development and it just never happened. Sometimes straight-line speed is just not enough.
Hardman catches 69% of the balls thrown his way. That’s receiver one territory. Most receiver two guys catch just above 60%. Why is everyone so down on Hardman. Very fast with high catch ratio. Does he make bad coffee or leave a mess in the kitchen? What’s the issue with this guy?