Hardman has played just 22 snaps and been targeted once through the first four games of the Jets' season. He's struggled to find his way onto the field, and entering a crucial Week 5 matchup with the Denver Broncos, he might not even be given the opportunity.
ESPN's Rich Cimini predicted on Saturday that Hardman would be a healthy scratch this week. It should be noted that Cimini's prediction is just that — a prediction — but there is sound logic behind his thought process.
The Jets elevated wide receiver Irvin Charles from the practice squad for this week's game, a move likely made with special teams in mind. Still, would the Jets really opt to dress six wide receivers? It's possible Hardman is the odd man out.
Why aren't the NY Jets using Mecole Hardman?
Hardman signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Jets this offseason, and the belief at the time was that he would be the team's new WR3, replacing the departing Elijah Moore.
Instead, Hardman is playing just 10 percent of the Jets' offensive snaps, many of which came in Week 2 garbage time. That's a far cry from the 53 percent of snaps he played with the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs last season.
The Jets did get rookie wide receiver Xavier Gipson a little more involved in the offense last week. The undrafted wideout played 11 offensive snaps, receiving three touches in the process.
For whatever reason, though, the Jets seem hesitant to give Hardman any significant number of snaps. It's fair to suggest that could be the case again this week.
Charles is expected to replace the injured Brandin Echols as one of the Jets' gunners on special teams. He and Gipson's presence on specials should secure their spots on the game-day active roster.
The Jets don't seem to trust Hardman on special teams. And if they're not going to play him on offense, there really isn't a reason to have him active. Quite frankly, there really isn't a reason to have him on the roster.
Despite the promise the Jets made to Hardman in the offseason, don't be surprised if he's inactive this week.