The NFL trade deadline is fast approaching and the NFL rumors are swirling as teams are separating themselves from being contenders or pretenders. Teams like the LA Chargers who may need a boost for a playoff push should look at teams who are struggling to see who they can add via trade.
It doesn't necessarily have to be with a struggling team, though. There are certain relationships throughout the league that simply are not working. Heck, the Chargers just ended their toxic relationship with JC Jackson by trading him back to the New England Patriots.
The Chargers could be on the receiving end of a trade like that. All the team needs is the right target to come along and that may have just happened thanks to the New York Jets. Despite being 2-3 and having a chance to make the playoffs, New York is reportedly shopping former Kansas City Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman.
NFL Rumors: Jets shopping Mecole Hardman, who would be perfect for the Chargers
Just because Mecole Hardman has failed to etch out a role in New York does not mean that he wouldn't bring any value to the Chargers. With Mike Williams out for the remainder of the 2023 season, the Bolts would benefit from bringing in a player of Hardman's caliber.
While the receiver room looked deep before the season there are some concerns about how it will hold up the rest of the year. The team doesn't fully seem to believe that Quentin Johnston is ready to be a difference-maker in 2023 and Joshua Palmer can be inconsistent at times.
This receiver room is one more injury away from being a near disaster like it was in 2022. The Chargers can combat that by adding someone like Hardman, who would also add a new wrinkle to this Chargers offense.
Hardman would give the Bolts game-breaking speed that Justin Herbert could utilize in the deep parts of the field. With Johnston not being a great contested-catch target, adding Hardman could at least somewhat replace that deep-ball presence that the team misses without Williams.
Hardman isn't just a straight-line runner, though. His quickness and athleticism can translate into a similar route tree that Williams typically has. How many times have Chargers fans seen Herbert connect with Williams on a lightning-quick slant to pick up a first down? Hardman may be able to do the same thing for LA.
It would not take much draft capital (a sixth-round pick at the absolute most, but probably a seventh-round pick) and he is a free agent after this season on a cheap contract. Trading for Hardman makes all the sense in the world. If the team is willing to use a seventh-round pick on a third quarterback just to cut him before the season it should be willing to trade a pick to improve the team's chances.