Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman will officially be a free agent when the new league year begins on Wednesday.
Hardman isn’t expected to return to the Chiefs in 2023 because he’ll likely command a bigger contract on the open market than what Kansas City is willing to give him.
The legal tampering period opened on Monday, but Hardman, as of Tuesday morning, has yet to agree to a deal with anyone.
For some reason, a narrative has formed that Hardman is “injury prone”.
The former Georgia Bulldogs standout played in just eight games last season after suffering an abdomen injury in Week 9.
He returned for the Chiefs’ matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game, but he missed Super Bowl LVII due to the injury.
Before last season, Hardman had never missed an NFL game. He played in 49 out of 49 regular season games during his first three years in the league. And he played in all nine of the Chiefs’ playoff games from 2019 to 2021.
You can understand why Hardman doesn’t like being labeled as injury prone — he just had some bad luck last season.
Bro stop saying I’m injury prone .. this the first time I been hurt in my career I played every game for 3 straight years 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/jXldJCEnpk
— Mecole Hardman Jr. (@MecoleHardman4) March 14, 2023
I can’t blame Hardman for pushing back on that label — if he’s perceived that way, it could cost him a lot of money (front offices shouldn’t get wrapped up in that narrative, but you never know when it comes to the NFL).
Hardman isn’t one of the “marquee” names in free agency, but because of a lack of quality wide receivers available, he should be able to land a nice contract. And it almost certainly won’t be with the Chiefs.