Failed Jets-Chiefs Trade Resulted in $4.2 Million Epic Draft Bust

Mecole Hardman, Chiefs

Getty Former Kansas City Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman breaking a tackle during a game versus the New York Jets.

The New York Jets officially signed wide receiver Mecole Hardman on Thursday, March 23.

However, according to new information from Rich Cimini of ESPN, this isn’t the first time Gang Green tried to land the dynamic playmaker.

During the 2019 NFL draft Jets general manager at the time Mike Maccagnan “tried to trade up” for the Georgia wideout.

Kansas City rejected Gang Green’s offer and took Hardman with the No. 56 overall pick in the second round.

After the Jets failed trade-up attempt they decided to stand pat and select former Florida Gators defender Jachai Polite with the No. 68 overall pick in the third round.

Gang Green ended up cutting their talented rookie during his very first training camp with the team.

Jets Selected a Historic Draft Bust

Polite slipped in the 2019 NFL draft due to “poor workouts and pre-draft interviews” but was viewed as a first-round talent, Cimini explained in a column posted in 2019.

Cimini said it’s “highly unusual” for an NFL team to give up on a third-round pick that early in their tenure. As a matter of fact, it was the first time since 1986 that the Jets “cut a rookie drafted in the first three rounds before the regular season.”

Something else that is unusual is allowing a front office executive to run a team’s free agency and draft before choosing to fire him after the fact.

Gang Green kept Maccagnan following the 2018 season and he helped in hiring Adam Gase as the next head coach. Three weeks after the 2019 NFL draft, the Jets decided to fire Maccagnan and replaced him with current GM Joe Douglas.

Cimini said that both Douglas and Gase “never warmed” to Polite during the offseason.

The former Gators product was at the very beginning of his $4.2 million rookie contract when he was released. Polite ended up bouncing around the NFL on other team’s practice squads and most recently was in the CFL with the Edmonton Elks.

On the other side of the coin, Hardman has won a pair of Super Bowl rings and has proven to be a dynamic playmaking offensive weapon in the league.

Jets Got Ex-Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman on an Insane Value

Well, that didn’t play out the way the Jets were originally hoping but at the end of the day, they still ended up with Hardman.

The former Chiefs standout ended up signing a one-year deal that has a base value of $4.5 million, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.

According to Over The Cap, Hardman is the No. 52 highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL at that annual evaluation.

The two biggest feathers in Hardman’s cap are versatility and elite speed.

Cimini said the former Georgia product has scored in four different ways since entering the league back in 2019:

  • Receiving: 16 touchdowns
  • Rushing: two touchdowns
  • Punt return: one score
  • Kick return: one score

That’ll be a welcomed addition to the Jets’ offense. Hardman also has a clutch gene with his propensity for scoring when the game is on the line.

During his four-year career to date, he has scored eight go-ahead touchdowns and a pair of game-tying touchdowns, per Cimini.

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