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Return of the Jet: The Chiefs bring back Mecole Hardman in a trade with the Jets

The wide receiver room just got better with a familiar face.

(Photo by: Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports)

A No. 1 wide receiver is someone who can do it all; this is a player who gives the offense stability and freedom, things offensive coordinators will build upon and incorporate into their game plans. Now that might not be the case of late for the Chiefs despite the 5-1 record. The only problem that fans believe could affect the Chiefs offense is the lack of separation from our current receiver room which is has been the result of hot and cold results. The Chiefs don’t miss their former No. 1, Tyreek Hill but there was an element of his game that was missing from our current offense and that was the blazing speed that opened the offense even and gave Mahomes and Reid the freedom to be creative. 

Now that’s changed since the Chiefs got a familiar face back that could open more opportunities for our current receivers going forward. Yesterday, Mecole “The Jet” Hardman is heading back to the Kingdom. The New York Jets have agreed to trade Hardman after six games, in exchange of late-round picks, confirmed by NFL Network Insider James Palmer.

The Jets will receive a 2025 sixth-round pick from the Chiefs and give the Chiefs a 2025 seventh-round selection in the deal. Hardman only played 28 snaps for the Jets this season after signing a one-year, $4 million deal with the team. He has only one catch for six yards in five games. He received just three targets in his short tenure with the Jets, now he’s back where he belongs.

Hardman, the former 2019 second-round pick out of Georgia, had 151 catches for 2,088 yards and 16 touchdowns in four seasons with the Chiefs. His best season was his rookie campaign (2019), when he finished with 26 catches for 538 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 20.7 yards per catch.

Today at practice, he spoke to the media about spending part of last season in the hospital after an abdominal injury caused him to lose feeling in his legs. The injury occurred during a game against Tennessee in early November, Hardman said. He finished the game, and it was the following day that he began feeling cramps in his abdomen. The pain was getting worse by the hour, and after Hardman phoned Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder, he was taken to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital.

He lost feeling in his legs for “four or five days,” Hardman said, and was hospitalized two more days after getting it back, before he was finally discharged. Hardman missed the final nine games of the regular season and the Chiefs’ postseason win over Jacksonville, then hurt his groin in the AFC title game against Cincinnati, forcing him to miss their Super Bowl win over Philadelphia.

This move is great because the Chiefs’ deep passing scheme could start opening up opportunities for Mahomes and the team’s receivers like Rashee Rice (21 catches, 245 yards, 2 TDs), Justin Watson (10 catches, 219 yards), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (7 catches, 116 yards) and even Kadarius Toney (14 catches, 75 yards, TD) to connect for explosive long yardage plays that could turn the tide of a game. The Chiefs won’t need to worry about Hardman getting acclimated with the offense either.

With Hardman’s return, look for Rice to be a bit more productive going forward. Rice also runs good routes while excelling in the intermediate part of the route tree. Along with Tight end Travis Kelce, they will be open often and reliable. They will also be responsible for the 3rd down and short yardage targets to move the chains.

Hardman runs good routes and beats man coverage with ease using his first step in and out of breaks, and has a special ability to track the football especially going deep. The Chiefs needed a man coverage beater and Hardman has that ability. After the catch, the gifted receiver uses his 4.33 speed and vision to become a home-run threat on every play. Hardman may also get an opportunity to run jet sweeps lining up on the outside and return punts on special teams when needed.

With that being said, Hardman is back in Andy Reid and Matt Nagy’s West Coast offensive system. He’ll be able to gain immediate separation in the quick passing game or short routes with his sudden quickness and blazing speed that allows him to win in the intermediate to deep parts of the field. He could be the missing piece to the puzzle for head coach Andy Reid and someone who helps the Chiefs return to the Super Bowl to defend their crown.

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