Mar 23, 2023

🏈 AP source: Jets, WR Mecole Hardman agree on 1-year deal

Posted Mar 23, 2023 1:49 AM

AP Pro Football Writer

The New York Jets and former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman agreed to terms on a one-year deal Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the contract.

The speedy and versatile Hardman gives the Jets and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett another playmaker on what could be a much-improved offense.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Jets hadn't announced the agreement. ESPN first reported Hardman and the Jets agreed to terms on a contract. Financial terms weren't immediately available, but NFL Network reported it could be worth up to $6.5 million.

The 25-year-old Hardman spent his first four seasons with the Chiefs after being a second-round draft pick out of Georgia in 2019. He has 151 catches for 2,088 yards and 16 touchdowns in his career and has rushed 20 times for 125 yards and two scores.

Hardman also adds value on special teams. He has averaged 9.0 yards on punt returns and 23.8 yards on kickoffs — with one touchdown return on each during his career.

With Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers saying last week he intends to play for the Jets this season and the teams continuing to work out details, New York has added a couple of playmaking pieces on offense.

Along with Hardman, the Jets also signed former Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard to a four-year, $44 million deal last week. The addition of Hardman made fellow wide receiver Elijah Moore expendable.

New York traded Moore and the No. 74 pick in this year's draft to Cleveland for the 42nd overall selection, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized, but the Jets will have three of the top 50 picks in the draft next month: Nos. 13, 42 and 43.

One or more of those picks could factor in a potential trade for Rodgers.

The Jets still have a deep wide receiver room with AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis and Denzel Mims on the roster, to go along with Hardman and Lazard.

Hardman played in only eight regular-season games last season because of an abdominal injury. He returned for the AFC championship game and had two catches for 10 yards and rushed twice for 7 yards before reinjuring his abdomen. Hardman sat out the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

NOTES: The Jets announced they have re-signed FB Nick Bawden, who spent last season on injured reserve after being hurt in training camp. ... New York also made its signing of former Ravens OL Trystan Colon official.

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AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed.