Chiefs reportedly bringing back receiver Mecole Hardman on one-year deal

Receiver Mecole Hardman is returning to the Kansas City Chiefs. The six-year veteran has agreed to a one-year contract with the team, reports NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Hardman signed with the New York Jets as a free agent before last season. However, he was a disappointment in five games, catching only one pass for six yards. The Jets traded him back to the Chiefs, with whom he played for his first four NFL seasons, and it was like he never left.

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In six regular-season games, Hardman caught 14 receptions for 118 yards. He snagged another seven passes for 62 yards in the postseason, saving his biggest catch for Super Bowl LVIII.

Hardman caught a three-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes and ran it in for a touchdown to give Kansas City an overtime victory and second consecutive Super Bowl championship. Earlier in the game, he hauled in a 52-yard pass and eventually finished with the Chiefs’ second-highest receiving yards total at 57 yards.

A second-round pick (No. 56 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft, Hardman has 165 receptions for 2,206 yards and 16 touchdowns in 63 games (28 starts) for the Chiefs. He could end up being a key contributor for a Kansas City receiving corps currently dealing with uncertainty over the status of Rashee Rice.

Rice faces a likely suspension from the NFL for his involvement in a multi-car crash while racing a Lamborghini in northeast Dallas. He currently faces eight felony charges related to the crash and a $1 million lawsuit from two people who suffered injuries in the accident.

The second-year receiver was also suspected of assaulting a photographer at a Dallas nightclub earlier this month, though he no longer faces charges for the incident.

The Chiefs signed free agent Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and selected Texas receiver Xavier Worthy with their 2024 first-round pick to augment their production at the position. But Hardman provides a reliable pass-catcher who’s already familiar with head coach Andy Reid’s offense, along with Justin Watson, Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore.

Hardman could also return kicks and punts, according to the Kansas City Star. As a rookie in 2019, he made the Pro Bowl returning 27 kicks for 704 yards, including a 104-yard touchdown against the Jets. The following season, he scored a touchdown on a punt return versus the Miami Dolphins.

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