The NY Jets made the controversial but seemingly inevitable decision to trade wide receiver Mecole Hardman last week. Hardman quickly fell out of favor with the Jets' coaching staff, and rather than keep him around on the bench, the Jets opted to ship Hardman back to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The former Pro Bowler reunited with his teammates ahead of the Chiefs' Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, and he wasted little time making an impact.
While Hardman was still clearly working his way back into the offensive gameplan, the former Georgia standout returned a 50-yard punt in a crucial fourth-quarter situation to help lead his team to victory this weekend.
After the game, Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce was asked about Hardman's return to Kansas City, and he made sure to throw a quick jab at the Jets while expressing his excitement.
"I don’t know how [Mecole Hardman] got out of New York, but I’m glad he’s with us."- Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce doesn't know why the NY Jets traded Mecole Hardman
Kelce insisted that he didn't know how or why Hardman was traded but that he was happy to have him back in Kansas City. From the outside looking in, Hardman's failed stint with the Jets is bizarre.
The speedy wideout was promised a larger role when he signed with the team last March, and considering he played over 50 percent of snaps in each of the last two seasons for the defending Super Bowl champions, that seemingly meant a significant increase in usage.
Instead, Hardman was an afterthought on the Jets' roster, playing just 28 offensive snaps and catching one pass for six yards. He was rendered a healthy scratch before being sent back to the Chiefs last week.
Hardman lost playing time to undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson and was also a victim of a change in offensive philosophy following Aaron Rodgers' injury.
Still, it's puzzling how the Jets couldn't find a role for Hardman, especially with the statistically worst wide receiver in football (Randall Cobb) playing half of their offensive snaps. Surely Hardman would have been able to provide some value to the team.
Nonetheless, Hardman is back in Kansas City, where his role will likely increase over the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the Jets could be searching for a wide receiver upgrade at the trade deadline after striking out in free agency.
Chiefs players are certainly happy to have Hardman back with their team, even if some of them might be a bit confused as to how it all happened in the first place. Both the Jets and Hardman will be happy to move on from their brief but memorable partnership.