Former Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman finds new AFC home after injury-filled 2022

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Emily Curiel/

Receiver Mecole Hardman will be looking to rebuild his stock next season with a new AFC team.

Hardman, whom the Kansas City Chiefs took in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, has agreed to a one-year contract with the New York Jets, a source close to the situation confirmed to The Star on Wednesday afternoon. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero first reported the deal, while NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport conveyed it was a one-year pact worth up to $6.5 million.

It was a difficult contract year for Hardman, who sat out most of the last half of the season with a groin injury. He returned for KC in the playoffs, catching two passes for 10 yards against Cincinnati in the AFC Championship Game before re-injuring himself.

Hardman had groin repair surgery last month, and the injury is likely why he was available for a one-year, “prove-it” deal with the Jets.

The 25-year-old Hardman had no health issues before this season. He played in 51 regular-season games for the Chiefs from 2019-21, with his best year coming in 2021; he had 59 catches for 693 yards with two touchdowns.

Hardman had plenty of production before his injury in 2022. That included six combined receiving and rushing touchdowns in eight regular-season games, as he contributed 25 catches for 297 yards.

KC’s current top returners at receiver for next year include Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore.