Josh Reynolds has stepped up nicely this season, but in a vaccum the Detroit Lions could consider an addition at wide receiver before the Oct. 31 trade deadline. Jameson Williams is an unknown quantity right now, and it's worth wondering where the tolerance will be for any kinks in his development as games are trying to be won from here on out.
The Lions are unlikely to pony up what it would take to get a potentially available "big fish" wide receiver like Davante Adams. But move down a notch or two, then maybe there's a conversation.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported the New York Jets are exploring options with Mecole Hardman, including a trade. He was a healthy scratch in Week 5. Before that game, via ESPN's Rich CImini, Hardman was clearly high on his ability.
"I'm probably the best in the league in space," he told ESPN. "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."
Hardman spent his first four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs before signing a one-year deal with the Jets last offseason. Before he was a healthy scratch last week, he played 22 offensive snaps and 14 of those were in Week 2's 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. His lack of playing time has been mysterious, since beyond Garrett Wilson it's not like the Jets are flush with high-end receiver talent. Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, etc. are quintessential "JAGs" (Just A Guy).
Detroit Lions trade rumors: Match with Mecole Hardman feels like a reach
Ideas about potential landing spots for Hardman have naturally come, with a return to the Chiefs feeling possible. Dallas Robinson of Pro Football Network put the Lions on his list of possibilities.
"We’ve been trying to send a wide receiver to the Detroit Lions all offseason. General manager Brad Holmes already made one failed trade for a Jets wideout — Denzel Mims, who was cut before the season — over the summer, so maybe the Lions wouldn’t be amendable to a repeat."
"Detroit hopes 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams will eventually become its speed threat, but injuries and a sports betting suspension have hindered his development. While Josh Reynolds and Sam LaPorta have become excellent options behind Amon-Ra St. Brown, Hardman could give play-caller Ben Johnson a slightly different element on offense."
Our friends over at The Jet Press put the Lions No. 2 on their list of five teams who could trade for Hardman.
Hardman's best season thus far came in 2021, when he had 59 catches for 693 yards and two touchdowns. He was a productive kickoff and punt returner, and an occasional gadget player (20 rushing attempts) during his time in Kansas City.
Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson could certainly find a way to use Hardman effectively. But what he does best overlaps a lot with what Kalif Raymond does best. So it's a strained fit based on that, as much as there is even any interest in him on Detroit's part.
The price may be right in a trade, though any teams who have interest may just wait to see if Hardman is cut by the Jets. Regardless, matching him to the Lions is rooted in convenience more than his actually being a good fit.