Christian Hackenberg reportedly makes free agent visit with the Patriots
Hackenberg might be headed back to the AFC East
According to ESPN.com, Hackenberg was at Gillette Stadium on Thursday for a free agent visit. The trip to New England comes less than 24 hours after Hackenberg was released by the Raiders in a move that was somewhat surprising, but only because the Raiders had just obtained him less than a month ago .
The Jets gave up on Hackenberg after watching him struggle with the team for two years. The 2016 second-round pick has yet to take a single regular season snap in his career, which is mostly notable because that's almost unheard of in the NFL. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, Hackenberg is one of just two quarterbacks taken in the second round to not take a snap through their first two years (Gene Bradley, 1980; Jim Kelly, 1983). Of course, the only reason Kelly didn't take any snaps is because he spent his first two years of professional football in the USFL.
According to Raiders coach Jon Gruden, the same thing basically happened to Hackenberg in Oakland. The team had too many quarterbacks (Derek Carr, Connor Cook and EJ Manuel) and not enough spots. Gruden actually sounded disappointed that he wasn't able to hold on to Hackenberg.
"[Hackenberg] has been working on changing his stroke, his passing motion, and I think he did that," Gruden said Thursday, via ESPN.com. "We just didn't have enough reps to take a good look at him. Since we were further along the road with some of our other guys, we didn't have the space."
In Hackenberg, Gruden sees a quarterback who needs help with his development, but can't get it due to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and NFLPA.
"Everybody is an expert out there on Hackenberg and thinks he can't play," Gruden said. "It's unfortunate, this whole collective [bargaining agreement]. How do you develop a quarterback? I don't know how you do it."
If the Patriots do end up signing Hackenberg, that would be a total Belichick move, and it wouldn't be the first time he's taken another team's trash and turned it into New England's treasure. If the Patriots do sign Hackenberg, it would add some spice to a division rivalry that's lost some of its luster over the years.
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