Jets Sign Mecole Hardman To Replace Disgruntled Elijah Moore, Who They Immediately Trade To Browns

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The New York Jets signed wide receiver Mecole Hardman on Wednesday, raising speculation about the future of Elijah Moore.

But we didn’t have to wait too long for resolution. The Jets immediately flipped Moore to the Cleveland Browns. New York sends Moore and a 2023 third-round pick (#74 overall) to Cleveland for a 2023 second-round pick (#42 overall).

Essentially, the Jets move up one round (32 spots) to dump Elijah Moore and replace him with Mecole Hardman.

Moore had a tumultuous season for the Jets that included his benching. Allegedly, he told the team’s offensive coordinator to “go f*** himself.” Not ideal.

He also complained about his role in the offense. Later in the season, he caught a game-winning touchdown. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions.

Despite the issues, head coach Robert Saleh remained steadfast that Moore would not be traded. But that was then, and this is now. Then, the team didn’t have virtually the same player — Mecole Hardman — already on the roster.

The New York Jets signed Mecole Hardman and then immediately traded Elijah Moore to the Cleveland Browns
The New York Jets signed Mecole Hardman and then immediately traded Elijah Moore to the Cleveland Browns
(Photos via Getty Images)

Both players are 5’10” slot receivers separated by less than 10 pounds. Hardman recorded just under 1,100 yards in his first two seasons and has just under 2,100 across four years in the NFL.

Elijah Moore has just under 1,000 career yards, but has missed several games due to injuries and being benched. In two seasons, Moore averages 36.4 yards receiving per game. Hardman? 36.6 yards per game.

Basically the same player without the headache.

The Browns, on the other hand, need more weapons for Deshaun Watson. And, given Watson’s past, Moore seems like a choir boy.

Moore — who once fake urinated after scoring a touchdown in college, costing his team a massive rivalry game — looks downright saintly compared to Watson.

The Browns couldn’t care less about off-field issues, locker room issues or seemingly anything else. Can you play? You’re in.

And Moore, despite the problems, can PLAY. In his final six games in 2021, prior to suffering a season-ending hamstring injury, Moore recorded 34 catches for 459 yards and five touchdowns.

If he could replicate that stretch over a 17-game season, he’d have 96 catches for 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns. Yeah, he can play.

But that’s IF he can stay on the field. And IF he can avoid telling coaches to go eff themselves.

Those are pretty big IFs.

Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak

Written by Dan Zaksheske

Dan began his sports media career at ESPN, where he survived for nearly a decade. Once the Stockholm Syndrome cleared, he made his way to Outkick. He is secure enough in his masculinity to admit he is a cat-enthusiast with three cats, one of which is named “Brady” because his wife wishes she were married to Tom instead of him.

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