Veteran Playmaker Refuses to Sign With Jets Ahead of Free Agency

Well, we know one pending free agent who won’t be coming to the New York Jets this offseason.

Mecole Hardman was explaining his intentions to explore free agency this offseason when NFL Network host Andrew Siciliano asked him about a potential return to the green and white.

“No. I won’t go back to the Jets,” Hardman bluntly responded.

Mecole Hardman doesn’t know if he’ll be back with the Chiefs, but he knows where he WON’T be going in free agency…@nflnetwork @NFLTotalAccess

— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) February 23, 2024

Hardman-Jets Experiment Was an Abject Failure in 2023

Hardman originally joined the Jets this past offseason on a one-year deal for $4 million.

Rich Cimini of ESPN explained one of the reasons the talented wideout decided to come to New York was because of a promise they made to him in free agency.

“They promised he’d be able to expand his route tree in their offense. In Kansas City, he was used at the line of scrimmage (jet sweeps, bubble screens, etc.) and on vertical routes, with not much in between. The Jets believe he has untapped ability on intermediate routes,” Cimini said back in April of 2023.

Fast forward a few months later and a frustrated Hardman wanted out because of an inexplicable lack of usage. The Jets packaged Hardman and a 2025 seventh-round pick sending him to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2025 sixth-round pick ahead of the trade deadline.

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Hardman would end up being the Super Bowl hero for KC as he caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Even though it appears Hardman is heading toward free agency, I’m not sure many people thought a return to the Jets was in the cards anyway.

The feeling would probably be mutual. Hardman didn’t enjoy his time in New York and obviously, the Jets didn’t get what they thought they paid for.

A Popular Free Agent Might Leave the Jets at the Altar This Offseason

“Almost Jets” is an inside joke among Gang Green fans.

Throughout the team’s history, they have often been connected to potential free agents or trade targets that never came to fruition. Rumors spilled that the insert player planned on signing with the Jets, but never did.

“Badlands” a popular paid subscription Jets podcast releases a new episode every year discussing the new additions to the list.

I spoke to Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic for an exclusive interview on “The Boy Green Show.”

During our conversation, he gave a head nod to the “Almost Jets” and made a prediction on which NFL player could be joining those ranks this offseason.

“I know the guys on Badlands always do the almost Jets. The Jets wind up offering more money and [that player] just takes a little bit less to go somewhere else. That is kind of what I see maybe happening with Calvin Ridley [of the Jacksonville Jaguars],” Rosenblatt told me.

Ridley is someone the Jets had an interest in trading for prior to his suspension for gambling in 2022. Connor Hughes of SNY believes they will have interest once again in pursuing the talented wideout.

However, whether or not they will land him is totally up in the air. Ridley should be a popular option in free agency among the 32 NFL teams.

Now that is a very JUICY #Jets insider nugget: @Connor_J_Hughes predicted that Calvin Ridley will be starting at WR next season alongside @GarrettWilson_V with NYJ 👀

‘When he was being traded from the #Falcons, the Jets were all over it. They loved him. They made calls. They…

— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) January 27, 2024

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