Analysis

The Chiefs Future May Not Feature Mecole Hardman

Wide Receiver Mecole Hardman has had his ups and downs. The future with the Kansas City Chiefs in his contract year is uncertain.

Mecole Hardman was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round (56th overall) in the 2019 draft. During that time the Chiefs’ current number one WR Tyreek Hill was being investigated for alleged child abuse. The Chiefs drafted Hardman based on his 4.33 forty speed and what he could potentially do similarly on the football field when compared to Hill in case it didn’t work out.

There were some mixed feelings when Hardman was drafted. There was some talk that we had too many speed guys and not a prototype wide receiver that could just grab those 50/50 balls. Then when the league decided not to suspend Tyreek Hill there was even more talk that the “Hill’s replacement” pick was wasted. However, as we saw firsthand, you can never have too much speed on the field.

The Chiefs and Mecole Hardman Both are Currently Benefitting From His Rookie Contract

Hardman signed a 4-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs after the draft. The contract was for $4,995,052 with a signing bonus of $1,652,764. There was also $2,374,812 guaranteed money. This year he will earn a workout bonus of $75,000. It is not a bad contract, but Mecole will be looking to have a big year so he can cash in when he signs a new deal this offseason, whether that be with the Chiefs or another team.

Does the Chiefs’ Future Include Mecole Hardman?

I agree with Chiefs Edge Contributing Writer Devin Hoover that Mecole hasn’t lived up to expectations for a second-round pick with crazy speed. Hardman needs to step up and show the Chiefs he is worth re-signing. In his rookie year, Hardman had 26 catches for 538 yards for six touchdowns. In his second year, he had 41 catches for 560 yards and four touchdowns. Last year, he had 59 catches for 693 yards and two touchdowns.

This year in just two games played he has six receptions on 10 targets for 65 yards and a touchdown. It has to be noted that there were a few misses for what seemed to be sure touchdowns in the first game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals. Some are saying that Hardman didn’t seem to be making an effort and he even slowed down on his routes. A fair criticism of Hardman is he still doesn’t have the ball-tracking skills to become an elite wide receiver.

It is hard to tell at this point what the future holds for Mecole Hardman. Every year his targets and yards have increased. However, the touchdowns and scoring potential have steadily decreased. The Yards per reception have also gone down significantly from his rookie year when he was averaging 20.7. Last year, it came down to 11.7, and so far through two games, it appears to be down further this season at only 10.8.

This year it seems the Chiefs are going with a more balanced approach which can only bode well for Hardman. WR Juju Smith-Schuster and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling both have more targets than Hardman. Tight End Travis Kelce leads the team with 16 targets. It is also interesting that Hardman has almost as many return yards (1,426) as he does reception yards (1,856). So his return ability is likely a factor as well in future contract talks. Whatever happens with Hardman’s future I am sure most will agree he wasn’t a wasted pick as he helped contribute to the 2019 Super Bowl winning season.