Sources: Jets looking at options for little-used Mecole Hardman

The New York Jets are looking at options for wide receiver Mecole Hardman, including a potential trade, league sources told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler on Tuesday.

Hardman, 25, was inactive Sunday and has not been in the plans despite signing a one-year, $4 million contract with upside to $5.5 million.

The Jets have had to adjust their offense since quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles after just four plays in his debut for the franchise. With Zach Wilson at quarterback, the team has been averaging 182.2 passing yards through five games and is leaning heavily on the running game, led by Breece Hall.

Hardman has just one catch for 6 yards in four games this season. He has played just 24 snaps, including two on special teams.

Hardman expressed frustration with his role last week in an interview with ESPN.

"I'm probably the best in the league in space," Hardman said. "Maybe [the coaches] see something different. I'm just waiting for the opportunity to present itself. I think when I was in K.C., I proved that I was probably the most dangerous guy on the jet sweep or whether it be on the end around or on the screen. I think I proved year-out that I was that guy that you had to worry about doing that."

Asked if he had asked the coaches why he's not more involved, Hardman said, "There's been conversations. It's just more so just comfortability, I believe. So, we just have to keep working and see what happens."

The Jets signed Hardman on the same day they traded Elijah Moore to the Cleveland Browns, but they billed Hardman as the replacement for Braxton Berrios, who already had been released in a salary cap move. Berrios, who eventually signed with the Miami Dolphins, was known more as a "gadget" receiver with the Jets. As it turns out, rookie Xavier Gipson has been used in that role.

Hardman came to the Jets from the Kansas City Chiefs. He played in eight games for the Chiefs last season, catching 25 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 31 yards and two touchdowns. He missed the final nine regular-season games and the Chiefs' divisional round playoff game with what the team called a pelvic injury. He returned to catch two passes for 10 yards in the AFC Championship Game but sat out Super Bowl LVII.

Hardman joined the Chiefs as a second-round draft pick in 2019. His best season came in 2021, when he set career highs with 59 receptions and 693 yards.

ESPN's Rich Cimini contributed to this report.