Mecole Hardman Accidentally Admits to Jets-Chiefs Trade Tampering

Mecole Hardman, Jets

Getty Former New York Jets wide receiver Mecole Hardman warming up ahead of an NFL game.

A former New York Jets wide receiver might have just put himself in some hot water.

Mecole Hardman appeared to accidentally admit to some illegal tampering during a podcast interview.

“I was so checked out like it’s over I already talked with [Brett] Veach & Pat [Mahomes] like bro come get me boy. What are y’all doing? Who we talking about? Come get me,” Hardman explained on “The Pivot” podcast.

Hardman signed with the Jets this past offseason on a one-year deal for $4 million. Things didn’t work out between the two parties and Gang Green ended up trading Hardman and a 2025 seventh-rounder to the Chiefs in exchange for a 2025 sixth-rounder in the middle of the 2023 campaign.

However, Hardman admitted to speaking with the Chiefs’ general manager and starting quarterback before a trade was consummated.

Chiefs Could Be Stripped of Draft Compensation if Tampering Proven True

According to the NFL bylaws, when a franchise and a player who “actively has a contract with another team” are speaking that is defined as “impermissible communications.”

This kind of illegal tampering has carried serious consequences when verified by the league.

In August of 2022, the Miami Dolphins were heavily whacked by the NFL for violating “the anti-tampering policy.”

They were stripped of its 2023 first-rounder, a 2024 third-rounder, and the Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was fined $1.5 million and suspended through the middle of that season.

Rich Cimini of ESPN’s takeaway from the podcast interview was that Hardman had already talked with the Chiefs around the Week 4 matchup against the Jets. Then two weeks later he was traded away.

Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap noted on X previously Twitter, “talking to KC’s GM while under contract should be looked at if there was no permission.”

The only potential escape hatch for Hardman from league discipline would be if the Jets granted him and his agent permission to seek a trade. If that occurred before Hardman’s conversations with the Chiefs then all of those talks would have been deemed fair game.

Hardman Goes Scorched Earth on the Jets on the Way Out

During the Jets-Chiefs game in Week 4, Hardman revealed that he refused to return punts.

Special teams coordinator Brant Boyer approached Hardman about filling in for an injured Xavier Gipson. However, Hardman didn’t feel like Boyer provided him enough of a heads-up to prepare so he refused to fill in.

Hardman admitted that he was already “checked out” by the time this interaction happened with Boyer anyway and was ready to move on from the team.

He accused the team of “lies” throughout the process to bring him in during free agency and while he was in the building. Hardman also emphatically said he was as good or better than every receiver on the Jets roster not named Garrett Wilson.

So when he wasn’t getting playing time, Hardman admitted he got angry and frustrated at the team.

The part that should sit with Jets fans was his criticism of the offensive coaching staff.

“You just got a new (offensive) coaching staff that came in and there’s no standard there. Everybody does what they want to do. Granted, the defense has more of a stabilized standard with the coaching staff on that side, so the defense has a standard. But the offense is just like, ‘We’ll just figure it out. It’s Aaron’s show. Let Aaron do what Aaron does.’ Then when Aaron goes down, it’s like we don’t know what to do,” Hardman revealed via Cimini.

Read More