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Jets Should Move On From These Two Players

This season for the Jets was derailed from the very start. Losing Aaron Rodgers for the season after four offensive snaps was far less than ideal.

Now four weeks later there are a couple of players that are not panning out in the way that most fans would have hoped. Wide receiver Mecole Hardman and defensive end Carl Lawson have been completely non-existent for New York so far.

With the trade deadline looming at the end of this month, here’s my speculation of how the Jets may have grown to view both of these players.

A Special Teams Signing From The Start?

Mecole Hardman, the most recent signing out of the two, agreed to a one-year, four-million-dollar deal with New York back in March. The Jets had also signed former Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard a week earlier, making it clear that they were adding to the receiver room as they waited for the arrival of Aaron Rodgers.

New York’s wide receiver depth included Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis (before retirement), Mecole Hardman, and Randall Cobb as the team entered training camp. The Jets also showed interest in free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. at one point, which would have presumably only pushed Hardman further down the depth chart.

From the beginning, the Hardman signing always seemed to be more of a special teams addition to me, especially with the departure of WR/KR Braxton Berrios to Miami. Undrafted rookie wide receiver Xavier Gipson stood out during camp and made the Jets’ 53-man roster by contributing on special teams. Returning a walk-off punt return touchdown to win New York’s week one game vs. the Bills on Monday Night Football sure didn’t hurt his chances of remaining the team's top returner.

It becomes more evident that Mecole isn’t even a thought in the coaches' minds after posting only one catch for six yards during the first four weeks of the season. He then showed up as a healthy scratch on the inactive list last week vs. the Broncos.

Even after losing out on the kick return duties, it's still hard to believe that the Jets cannot find a role for Hardman. He was able to contribute on the offensive side of the ball on some level when he was with the Chiefs. Nonetheless, New York must have their reasons but if the team is at the point where they are not even going to dress him on Sundays, then moving on from him sounds like the right course of action.

Too Many Mouths To Feed

As for Carl Lawson, the Jets signed him to a three-year, $45 million contract in March of 2021. He ended up missing the entirety of his first year as a Jet due to injury, but bounced back last year and appeared in all 17 games recording seven sacks on 24 QB Hits.

It’s been a different story for Lawson so far this season as he’s only played in three out of the team’s first five games and has failed to get his hands on the quarterback. Like Hardman, Lawson also showed up as a healthy scratch last week on the inactive list. You would think after investing so much into a guy like him, the Jets would find a way to get Lawson on the field more.

Unlike Hardman, who could see time as the Jets’ third option at receiver right now, Lawson has an added hurdle for more playing time. New York has a lot of depth on the defensive line, especially after drafting two edge rushers, Jermaine Johnson and Will McDonald, in the first round of the NFL Draft over the last two seasons. While his play is most likely the number one factor, it’s not ideal for Lawson that the Jets have a group of players at his position who could step up and fill his role.

Closing Thoughts

Barring a sudden change of heart, the Jets seem to be dead set on where they stand in regard to the roles of Mecole Hardman and Carl Lawson. These signings at the time showed some promise and it’s a shame that we’re at the point where we could probably consider both of these as failed acquisitions.

If New York is going to continue to leave Hardman and Lawson off of the gameday rosters moving forward, then it would only be in their best interest to send them elsewhere and recoup some draft capital for the offseason.

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