Mecole Hardman screwed over the Chiefs in big way with tampering comment

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman gave the NFL sufficient evidence to investigate the organization for tampeting, which could cost draft capital.

Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl LVIII - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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Mecole Hardman caught the game-winning touchdown of Super Bowl 58, and for that the Kansas City Chiefs will always be grateful.

The Chiefs selected Hardman out of Georgia in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. While Hardman had some success in Kansas City, he eventually left for the New York Jets in 2023 via free agency. Hardman admittedly did not enjoy his time in New York, and was eventually traded back to the Chiefs. With his career now come full circle, Hardman opened up a little too much in an interview with Ryan Clark of ESPN.

Hardman was upset with his playing time following a Week 4 loss to the Chiefs, and relayed his frustration to Patrick Mahomes and Brett Veach.

"I'm telling you right now, I was so checked out, like, it was over with. I had already talked to [Chiefs GM Brett] Veach and Pat [Mahomes], like, 'Come get me,'" Hardman said.

Did the Kansas City Chiefs violate the NFL's tampering policy?

If Veach and the Chiefs were in contact with Hardman and thus acted on that impulse, they could be found guilty of tampering and face a fine or worse. Here is the league's definition of tampering as we know it:

"The term tampering, as used within the National Football League, refers to any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL."

When approached about Hardman's comments, Jets GM Joe Douglas didn't speak much of it but was aware of the potential breach.

"I'll just say those comments definitely resonated with us," Douglas said.

Past tampering violations have been met with a slap on the wrist or, in the Miami Dolphins case, the loss of some serious draft capital. Miami forfeited a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, as well as a third-round selection in 2025, for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.

It's unlikely that any punishment from Hardman's comments would be as severe, but it does make the Chiefs more vulnerable at a bad time. Veach is busy trying to maintain a dynasty, namely by determining the futures of both L'Jarius Sneed and Chris Jones.

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