The Christian Hackenberg era has come to its logical inglorious end in New York. The Jets announced Tuesday that the 2016 second-round pick has been traded to the Oakland Raiders for a 2019 conditional seventh-round pick.
Hackenberg, who played at Penn State, leaves the Jets having played in precisely zero regular-season games during this two-year NFL career despite sharing the depth chart with the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Josh McCown. McCown heads into training camp as the favorite to win the job in 2018, while Hackenberg became (further) expendable when the team drafted Sam Darnold with the third-overall pick in last month's draft. Teddy Bridgewater, signed this spring, will also compete for playing time.
Last August, after Hackenberg lost out to the 38-year-old McCown for the starting job, coach Todd Bowles tried to put a positive spin on a development that had to be enormously disappointing for everyone involved.
"I would say that he's learning the offense and he didn't have enough playing time yet," Bowles said at the time. "We got him some significant playing time. It has nothing to do with his development. He's 22-years old, he has time to grow and he'll grow from it."
Hackenberg never grew, at least not to the Jets' liking, and now he's headed to Oakland.
Of course, this wouldn't even be a story had the Jets not taken Hackenberg in the second round. No one was much bothered that Petty, a 2015 fourth-rounder, didn't win the job outright last season -- because he was a fourth-rounder. (In related news: the Jets released Petty earlier this month and he was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins.)
Tidbits on the Christian Hackenberg trade to Oakland: 1. The #Raiders won’t release another QB in the short-term. 2. The pick conditions are tied to him being on the roster a certain number of games. 3. His comments did not lead to the trade. Had nothing to do with it.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 22, 2018
Regarding those comments...
Hackenberg, who made changes to his throwing motion this offseason while working with a personal quarterbacks coach, was asked Tuesday why the Jets didn't address his throwing motion earlier.
"I don't know," he said, via NJ.com. "I think there were some times when I threw it really good throughout my first two years here. That was the frustrating part for me, is the ups and downs and not knowing why -- and not really getting any information from anybody on how to fix that and how to address it."
He continued: "I finally figured some things out for myself. And being able to go out and prove some people wrong, and hopefully have the opportunity to continue to do that."
Hackenberg will indeed get that opportunity in Oakland.