4 notable former Chiefs players still looking for 2024 teams

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WR Mecole Hardman

When the Chiefs acquired former draft pick Mecole Hardman this past season, the move caused some mixed feelings. Many Chiefs fans were rightfully ready to move on from the wide receiver following the 2022 season and a down tenure overall. But Kansas City desperately needed receiving help, and Hardman has the thing fans love most: speed.

Yet, despite being familiar with Kansas City's offense and having a prime opportunity to contribute, Hardman failed to make a big impact over the season. A thumb injury late in the year really affected the Georgia alum. A surgery addressing the problem kept him inactive until Week 17, unfortunately limiting him to six games in Kansas City.

Hardman's speed and gadget value are still present, but he cannot be a consistent contributor at the NFL level. The 26-year-old is past hanging his hat on potential and needs to show production. That production flashed in a throw-away Week 18 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Hardman started the matchup and reeled in six catches for 77 yards. Kansas City rested several starters in that game, but Hardman stepping up was a welcome surprise for Chiefs Kingdom.

Hardman's 2023 season was a rollercoaster of moving teams and not making any friends in the Big Apple. However, his clutch play in the Super Bowl highlighted his remaining value and provided a memorable moment for the Chiefs' championship run. But that was then. This is now.

Kansas City general manager Brett Veach hasn't closed the door on a reunion, even if it feels unlikely. “If there’s an opportunity there that makes sense for him—and us—I'm sure we wouldn’t be opposed to going down that road,” Veach said at the NFL Combine. “Listen, when you have a guy that has played in this offense and understands all the verbiage, all the dialogues, all the play checks?"

Veach is right on Hardman's familiarity, but c'mon. Hardman is a known commodity in Kansas City, and he isn't a valuable one. With the Chiefs having other free agents to consider, such as defensive end Mike Danna, Hardman's future in Kansas City is far from certain.

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