The Chiefs have lost another offensive weapon in free agency. Wide receiver Mecole Hardman has signed a one-year contract with the New York Jets that could be up to $6.5 million. Hardman’s career in Kansas City finishes up with a total of 151 catches, 2,088 yards, 16 touchdowns, and an average yards per catch of 14. That’s his specialty: intermediate/long routes down the field and using his speed to his advantage. He ran a 4.33 40-yard dash in the 2019 scouting combine.
Hardman will go from Patrick Mahomes to now joining Aaron Rodgers as a Jet once the trade between the Jets and Packers becomes official any day now. Not too bad of a transition. With the draft coming up next month and free agency ongoing through the spring, Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has some work to do to try and bolster the wide receiver group. So what are their options as far as free agents or trades are concerned, keeping in mind the Chiefs currently have approximately $10 million in salary cap space to work with?
1. Sign Odell Beckham Jr
Odell Beckham Jr is coming off an ACL injury he suffered in the Super Bowl in 2021, but he is still capable of being the number one receiver for any team. He’s been recruited by several different teams including the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, and the Chiefs. However, there’s one major issue in play: the amount of money he wants. Teams will more than likely give Beckham a contract that will not exceed more than $10 million. Beckham has other ideas it appears.
It was reported over the weekend that he is looking for a contract worth $20 million a year, even if it turns out to be a one-year deal. He denied that report. While Beckham is certainly among the most talented receivers in the league, he’s also 30 and more than a year removed from his injury. It’s extremely unrealistic to think that he would get one more long term deal.
2. Trade for DeAndre Hopkins
As I alluded to in a previous article, the Chiefs should make their interest known in Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins. All it would take is a second-round pick and another piece of compensation, whatever it might be. Like Beckham, Hopkins will have a substantial price tag. The former star for the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals is currently under contract with Arizona for two more seasons and he’s scheduled to make $30.75 million in 2023 and $26.2 million in 2024. Although this is a very fluid situation, a deal would have to get done sooner rather than later that would include a restructured contract for Hopkins.
3. Sign DJ Chark
Chark most recently played for the Detroit Lions in 2022 after spending the first four years of his career in Jacksonville. Although he only played 11 games a season ago, he had a career-high in average yards per catch at 16.7. This might be the most intriguing option for Kansas City to look into. The question is: are they interested in signing him? Chark is only 26 years old which means he hasn’t even hit his prime years in the NFL yet. Although there are two other teams that are interested in the former second-round pick including re-uniting with the Detroit Lions and the Carolina Panthers. It’s reportedly been quiet as far as any rumors of Chark linking with the Chiefs but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Although time is certainly on the Chiefs’ side with filling out their roster before training camp in July, their options for acquiring veteran talent are few and far between at this point. If the Chiefs decide to pass on the three options mentioned, they will look to draft a wide receiver in the first round. The ball is in Brett Veach’s court to make a move. Stay tuned…