- Hardman won two Super Bowl rings while with the Chiefs before leaving
- The emergence of undrafted Xavier Gipson left Hardman considered expandable
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The New York Jets have traded wide receiver Mecole Hardman back to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a 2025 sixth-round pick.
New York also sends a 2025 seventh-round pick to KC along with Hardmon.
Hardman won two Super Bowls with the Chiefs before signing a one-year, $4 million contract with the Jets in free agency this offseason.
However, the 25-year-old never seemed like a good fit for the coached Jets and was surpassed on the depth chart by undrafted rookie and Hard Knocks star Xavier Gipson.
Hardman played just 28 snaps and had one reception during his short time with the Jets.
The Jets have traded Mecole Hardman back to the Kansas City Chiefs for a late-round draft pick
Hardman spent four of five seasons in the NFL playing for the Chiefs and won two Super Bowls
He was listed as inactive despite being fully healthy during the Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos.
The Chiefs originally selected Hardman in the second round of the 2019 draft, and he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie as a return specialist.
Hardman gradually became a bigger part of the Kansas City offense, utilizing prolific passer Patrick Mahomes, eventually making 151 catches for 2,088 yards and 16 touchdowns over four seasons with the Chiefs.
In 2021, he set career highs with 59 receptions for 693 yards, although his career high for touchdowns came in 2019 when he scored six.
Hardman previously expressed frustrations over his lack of usage during an interview when he said, “I’m probably the best in the league in space.”
‘Maybe the coaches see something different. I’m just waiting for the opportunity to present itself. I think when I was in KC I proved that I was probably the most dangerous guy on the jet sweep, whether it was at the end or on screen. I think I proved year after year that I was the guy you had to worry about.”
He also recently admitted that he was open to leaving the team in search of playing time, but stopped short of publicly requesting a trade.
‘I just want to play, get on the field. “Whether it’s here or somewhere else is not up to me.” Hardman stated.
The emergence of undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson allowed NY to view Hardman as expandable
Rashee Rice, who was selected in the second round, has been the Chiefs’ best wide receiver so far this year
Kanas City’s receiving core has failed to live up to expectations in Hardman’s absence this season, so there’s a good chance he’ll be welcomed back with open arms.
Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who makes more than the rest of their wide receivers combined, has failed to make an impact, and the Chiefs lost Justin Watson for the short term after he bruised an elbow against Denver last week.
Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney have also failed to take the steps forward in their growth as players and combined with Valdes-Scantling, the trio has a total of 35 catches, 353 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Rookie second-round pick Rashee Rice leads the team’s receiving core with 21 catches, 245 yards and two touchdowns.