Intriguing developments are afoot concerning the New York Jets’ deliberations regarding their wide receiver, Mecole Hardman. Sources within the league, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, have divulged that the Jets are actively exploring diverse avenues, potentially even contemplating a trade.
Mecole Hardman, a youthful talent at 25, found himself sidelined during the recent Sunday fixture, much to his chagrin. This situation has transpired despite the fact that he inked a one-year contract worth $4 million. With an enticing upside that could reach $5.5 million.
The Jets, grappling with the adversity of their quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, succumbing to a devastating Achilles injury a mere four plays into his Jets debut, have had to pivot their offensive strategy. With Zach Wilson steering the ship, the team’s passing game has thus far netted an average of 182.2 yards through five encounters. They have resorted to a run-centric approach, primarily orchestrated by the formidable Breece Hall.
Regrettably, Hardman’s contributions have been minimal, accounting for a single reception that yielded a paltry 6 yards across four games this season. His playing time has been restrict to a mere 24 snaps, including a scant two on special teams.
Venting his discontent with his diminished role, Hardman articulated his frustration in an interview with ESPN. In his own words, “I undoubtedly excel when given room to maneuver, potentially unparalleled in the league. Yet, perhaps the coaching staff perceives an alternative narrative. I eagerly await the moment where I can showcase my prowess. During my tenure in Kansas City, I substantiated my claim as the most formidable entity on jet sweeps, end-arounds, or screens. Year after year, I established myself as the athlete you couldn’t afford to underestimate.”
Pressed on whether he had engaged in discussions with the coaching staff regarding his limited involvement, Hardman responded, “Conversations have indeed transpired. However, it appears that comfort and familiarity may be the prevailing factors. Thus, our resolve is to persist in our efforts and await the unfolding of events.”
It’s noteworthy that the Jets secured Hardman’s services on the same day they parted ways with Elijah Moore. Who was traded to the Cleveland Browns. Originally, they positioned Hardman as the successor to Braxton Berrios, who had been released earlier due to salary cap constraints. Berrios, subsequently joining the Miami Dolphins, was recognize for his “gadget” receiver role with the Jets. Surprisingly, the rookie Xavier Gipson has assumed that niche role.
Hardman’s transition to the Jets transpired after his stint with the Kansas City Chiefs. In the previous season, he featured in eight games for the Chiefs, amassing an impressive tally of 25 receptions. Totaling 297 yards and securing four touchdowns. Additionally, he added 31 rushing yards along with two rushing touchdowns. His campaign was truncate by a pelvic injury, causing him to miss the final nine regular-season games and the Chiefs’ divisional round playoff match. Despite this setback, he managed to make a valiant return, securing two receptions for 10 yards during the AFC Championship Game, albeit sitting out the grand spectacle, Super Bowl LVII.
Hardman’s journey commenced when he was select as a second-round draft pick by the Chiefs in 2019. His zenith unfolded in the year 2021, when he charted personal bests with 59 receptions, amassing 693 yards.