Jets trade WR Mecole Hardman to Chiefs, source says: Why New York agreed to deal

By Dianna Russini, Zack Rosenblatt and Nate Taylor

  • Hardman has already spent four seasons with the Chiefs after selecting him in the second round of the 2019 draft.
  • In his first stint in Kansas City, he caught 151 passes for 2,088 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was part of the Super Bowl LIV and LVII championship teams.
  • Hardman joined the Jets last offseason on a one-year deal worth up to $6.5 million.
  • The 25-year-old played in five games for the Jets, but was targeted just three times and finished with one catch for 6 yards.

Why New York agreed to the trade

The Jets signed Hardman in free agency in hopes that he can become a better, more athletic version of Braxton Berrios. Instead, Hardman barely played — and now he’s being traded.

Hardman spent the first four years of his career with the Chiefs before signing a one-year, $4 million contract with the Jets in the offseason – most of which is guaranteed. For some reason, Hardman and the Jets coaching staff never got on the same page and the speedy player didn’t play much, just 28 snaps in five games. He was healthy in Week 5 as undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson moved ahead of him on the depth chart.

Hardman said last week that he would like to be somewhere where he had the opportunity to play, even if it meant it was with another team. — Zack Rosenblatt, Jets writer

What this means for the Jets

During training camp, it looked like the Jets had good depth at the wide receiver position. Now, that’s no longer the case after Corey Davis retired and Hardman was traded.

The Jets are left with star Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Gipson and the ineffective Randall Cobb as primary receivers, as well as Irv Charles and undrafted rookie Jason Brownlee. Charles is primarily used on special teams, and Brownlee has been healthy all season. — Rosenblatt

A smooth transition to KC

Of the receivers available on the trading block, Hardman was the most logical option for the Chiefs. He already has a relationship with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and many other teammates. Hardman’s transition to offense should also be fairly smooth, as he can play the role of kickoff and punt returner and be available for a few snaps to show off his speed.

By acquiring Hardman, the Chiefs will still have plenty of receivers for Mahomes to spread out his targets after six-year veteran Justin Watson suffered an elbow contusion in last week’s win over the Broncos. — Nate Taylor, Chiefs writer

Required reading

(Photo: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

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