They say the first million is the hardest to attain but for most premium NFL draft picks, it’s just the beginning.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman was a second-round pick in 2019. Just three years into his career, he’s won a Super Bowl and been selected to the Pro Bowl with nearly 1,800 receiving yards to his name.
If you take into account his contributions as a runner and a returner, Hardman has accumulated over 3,300 all-purpose yards for the Chiefs, meaning his first million won’t be his last. That’s a good thing, considering his first million came and went.
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Hardman’s First Million
During an interview with GQ Sports, the wide receiver detailed how he made, saved and spent his first million dollars.
According to Over the Cap, Hardman ended up earning $2.147 million and change during his rookie campaign, despite his base salary being $495,000. His signing bonus provided a major percentage of that, at a cool $1.652 million and change.
“Signing that contract that changes your life is crazy to think about,” the Georgia product told GQ Sports, “cause coming where I’m from, financially being stable and everything really wasn’t a thing… Whenever you get a chance to kind of like, change your life overnight, it was a great feeling to sign that paper knowing things [are] going to be different from here on out.”
Hardman did note that growing up with a paycheck to paycheck mentality wasn’t necessarily hard, but frustrating for his family at times. That’s why he spent his first large sum of money on his mother and father.
“First thing I did was I bought my mama a house, $300K,” he stated. “They gave me everything, just giving her something different. Being able to do that, I know she felt great about it — I mean my dad too, though… She cried so, obviously did something right.”
That wasn’t the only gift for Hardman’s parents, however, he bought both his mom and his dad a brand new car — a scat-pack Dodge Challenger and a Durango.
Next, Hardman treated himself. He bought two cars for himself — a “Red-Eye Hellcat” and a Jeep Wrangler — plus all the “additional work” on them, and about 40-50 thousand dollars worth of shoes. GQ Sports marked it down as $40K with $265K spent on the four vehicles.
The Chiefs wide receiver also splurged on two wild vacations — a week in Beverly Hills and an all-inclusive in Mexico. Taking into account all the expenses that come with traveling, GQ Sports brought Hardman’s money tracker up to $700K after the trips ($95K on vacations).
Finally, he saved the final $300K and had some advice for athletes that are just beginning their NFL careers.
“When you spend some, you gotta save some,” Hardman explained. “For guys entering the league, when you make money I know it’s going to be overwhelming — you feel like you can get anything in the world — but just know it don’t last long… The best thing is to get you a financial advisor that you trust, budget very well, and you’ll be just fine.”
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Hardman’s Role in 2022
The Chiefs offense is going through a dramatic shift from an emphasis on speed to an influx of size and options. Below are some of the 2022 additions for Patrick Mahomes:
- JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR
- Skyy Moore, WR
- Ronald Jones II, RB
- Justin Watson, WR
- Justyn Ross, WR
- Isaih Pacheco, RB
That doesn’t even take into account potential weapons like Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Josh Gordon, Daurice Fountain, Corey Coleman and Cornell Powell among others. It will be interesting to see where Hardman fits into this new-look system this season.
“We know what Mecole can do and we have a lot of confidence in what he can do,” head coach Andy Reid voiced on April 18. “He’s coming off a good year and he’s gonna continue to grow here over the next couple of years. Mecole has the speed like a Tyreek had. Different player, but like Tyreek had. He gives you a nice skillset with the speed and quickness and [the] ability to run when the ball is in his hands… so we find ways to do that.”