In case you were busy the past couple of hours and missed the March 22 news around 3:30 p.m. EST, chaos has ensued within the New York Jets community.
The bombshell occurred after the Jets signed former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman, sparking trade rumors about 2021 second-round pick Elijah Moore. You see, Hardman and Moore are very similar style wideouts and the latter requested a trade in 2022.
Many didn’t believe these rumors to be true but about an hour’s time after the Hardman deal was announced, Moore was gone — shipped off to the Cleveland Browns for a pick swap according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.
Here were the details of the trade:
- Jets received 2023 second-round pick (No. 42).
- Browns received WR Elijah Moore & 2023 third-round pick (No. 74).
Polarizing Jets WR Elijah Moore Draws Reactions From Garrett Wilson, Fans
Many responded to the polarizing news on Twitter, but chief among the reactions was wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who appeared to be very upset that his teammate had been traded.
“Nooooooo 😢😭,” Wilson commented publicly to a chorus of 4.5K likes and counting.
For a player that was often scrutinized as a ‘me’ guy, that’s quite the show of support from a big-name athlete at the same position. Having said that, a large contingent of fans did not forget Moore’s dramatics from a year ago.
“[Moore] was the only guy complaining when you were all busting your butts and actually off to a great start,” one fan wrote. “You guys’ll be better than ever I trust.”
On the other side of the aisle, plenty of Jets fans were confused by this decision, displaying a similar level of sadness as Wilson.
A third simply asked for someone to “end the pain” at wide receiver — preferably Wilson himself — with a photo of Robbie Anderson and Moore jerseys side by side.
There were a couple of other immediate player reactions, and one came from running back and 2021 draftmate Michael Carter. He predicted: “Greatness [on the way], promise.”
Mekhi Becton also chimed in, mocking those criticizing Moore. He tweeted: “‘He requested a trade in the middle of the season’ lol bruh shut up he still my dawg no matter what!” The offensive tackle has gone through his own ups and downs with the fanbase since being selected in round one of the 2020 draft.
Jets’ Mecole Hardman Contract Details Hint at Incentivized Deal
Rapoport also shared Hardman’s contract details before the Moore trade. “It’s a 1-year deal for the Jets and Mecole Hardman, with a chance to make $6.5M, source said,” he informed.
The “with a chance to make” phrasing hints at a buy-low deal with heavy incentives and a low cap hit. After all, the Jets practically exchanged Hardman with Moore and the latter’s cap hit was only $1.473 million in 2023 and $1.879 million in 2024 — per Over the Cap.
Expect Hardman’s guarantees to be near those numbers for his lone season in New York, even if it’s one or two million greater. The ex-Chiefs draft pick is coming off a pelvic injury that sidelined him for large gaps of the 2022 campaign, and just had surgery to repair the damage in February.
It was the first injury-ridden season of Hardman’s career, to be fair, but he only factored in eight games because of it with a career-low 297 receiving yards despite an exceptional six total touchdowns. His best year in Kansas City was in 2021, with 693 receiving yards and another 46 on the ground.
Hardman also offers ability as a returner and was voted to the Pro Bowl for his special teams performance as a rookie in 2019.