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Chiefs reportedly reunite with WR Mecole Hardman Jr. after trade with Jets

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Posted at 3:04 PM, Oct 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-18 16:12:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With Justin Watson out for at least a few weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs reportedly reinforced their wide receiver corps Wednesday with a familiar face.

The Chiefs are trading a 2025 sixth-round pick to the New York Jets in exchange for Mecole Hardman Jr. and a 2025 seventh-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Hardman, a second-round pick by Kansas City from Georgia in the 2019 NFL Draft, spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Chiefs.

He totaled 151 catches for 2,088 yards and 16 touchdowns in 57 games, adding two more touchdowns rushing and two more in the return game.

Hardman also had 22 receptions for 226 and two touchdowns in 10 postseason games with the Chiefs, including Super Bowl LIV and LVII championships.

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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman greets fans after their overtime win against the Tennessee Titans in an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022 in Kansas City, Mo.

Hardman averaged 42 catches for 597 yards with four touchdowns in each of his first two seasons. He was on pace to exceed those numbers in 2022 with 25 catches for 297 yards and four touchdowns through eight games before missing time with an abdominal injury.

Hardman signed a one-year deal worth $4 million to join the Jets in the offseason. The deal includes four void years, including a $2 million cap number in 2024 that goes down by $500,000 in each of the void years, according to Over the Cap.

In five games with New York, including zero starts, Hardman — a 5-foot-10, 187-pound speedster — had only one catch for 6 yards and wasn’t used in the return game.

Kansas City’s receiving corps has struggled to produce in six games this season.

Rookie Rashee Rice leads all wide receivers with 21 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

Watson had 10 catches for 219 yards, good for a team-high 21.9-yard average per reception, before suffering an elbow injury in last Thursday’s win against Denver.

Second-year receiver Skyy Moore has 11 catches for 145 yards, while veterans Kadarius Toney (17 catches for 92 yards) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (7 catches for 116 yards) have yet to produce more than 37 yards in any game since tight end Travis Kelce returned to the lineup after missing the season opener.

Valdes-Scantling had 48 receiving yards with kelce sidelined in the 21-20 loss to Detroit on Sept. 7.