One of the Kansas City Chiefs free agents appears to be playing the field.
After a Chicago Bears podcaster tweeted out a video of wide receiver Mecole Hardman catching a deep bomb from quarterback Justin Fields in college — captioned: “Here’s a soon to be Bears WR catching passes from Justin Fields back at Georgia” — the KC speedster actually responded with a short message that quickly went viral.
“@justnfields 👀👀👀,” Hardman voiced flirtatiously on the social media app to the tune of 5.4K likes and 500-plus retweets — as well as nearly 700K views.
Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman Appears to Be Departing in NFL Free Agency
The former second-round selection and two-time Super Bowl champion is coming off an injury-ridden campaign where he only appeared in eight games, starting five. Despite that, he could be in for a major salary bump considering the barren market at wide receiver in 2023.
Spotrac actually projected that the KC playmaker might earn north of $10.3 million per year in average annual salary this free agency cycle. Their estimated four-year deal at that rate would net Hardman $41.558 million, which would certainly price out the Chiefs.
If that were to happen, why not the Bears? Former KC executive Ryan Poles is the current general manager in Chicago, and we’ve already seen ex-Chiefs wideouts like Byron Pringle and Daurice Fountain join the NFC franchise since he was hired. Hardman could be the next domino to fall.
The other part of the equation is — does Kansas City care? No offense to Hardman, but the Chiefs seemingly replaced him the day they traded for Kadarius Toney after drafting Skyy Moore last April.
Those moves came on top of Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling signings, making it plainly obvious that they did not trust Hardman could be relied upon to fill the void left by superstar Tyreek Hill. In the end, KC was right, and now the former Georgia star will most likely leave Chiefs Kingdom for the highest bidder.
This tweet is just the latest confirmation of that.
Kadarius Toney Being Talked Up as Potential WR1 Ahead of NFL Free Agency
An interesting development that has occurred over the past week or so has been reporters and analysts hyping Toney as Patrick Mahomes’ WR1 in 2023. On March 7, NFL Network’s James Palmer sparked this match, stating that “the Chiefs believe [Toney] will be WR1” next season while discussing the WR corps.
PFF Fantasy Football then tweeted out his quote, calling it “KADARIUS TONEY WR1 SZN.”
The former first-round selection certainly has the talent, but can he stay healthy and elevate his game to new heights under head coach Andy Reid? It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a player take a leap in this system, but it will be interesting to see to how the Chiefs approach free agency after this report.
Would KC consider trading for a weapon like DeAndre Hopkins? How much are they willing to spend to re-sign Smith-Schuster?
If Toney truly is a WR1 in their eyes, that could shift their priorities on the open market — but that feels like a risky approach given the former New York Giants draft pick’s inconsistent track record staying healthy during his first couple of seasons in the league.
By the way, Palmer didn’t even mention Hardman in his tweet, showing the disconnect between KC and the soon-to-be 25-year-old free agent.