Christian Hackenberg‘s final days as a Jet were rather interesting. After the team added Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater, essentially admitting a second-round misfire, it was revealed Hackenberg worked with an independent passing coach and changed his throwing motion. And he did so unbeknownst to Todd Bowles.
“I don’t know,” Hackenberg said (via Daniel Popper of the New York Daily News) when asked why he overhauled his passing motion this offseason. “I think there were some times where I threw it really good throughout my first two years here, so that was the frustrating part for me, is the ups and downs and not knowing why, if that makes sense, and not really getting any information from anybody on how to fix that and how do address it.”
Hours after those comments, the Jets made the deal with the Raiders. However, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) this move did not come as a result of those comments. The Jets held Hackenberg out of Tuesday’s seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills because they’d worked out a deal with the Raiders earlier today, Darryl Slater of NJ.com reports.
“We did everything we could to try to help him as best we could,” the fourth-year HC said, via Slater. “He’s allowed to be critical. We suggested things, and we try to fix every player possible that we have. It just didn’t work out here.”
While the timing is interesting, this move also comes after Bridgewater participated fully in an OTA workout for the first time since 2016. That shouldn’t be viewed as a sign the former first-round pick has put his severe knee injury completely behind him, but it’s a positive development. And if Bridgewater is healthy during training camp, there wouldn’t be room for Hackenberg on Gang Green’s roster.
Rapoport adds the Raiders will not immediately release one of their quarterbacks to accommodate Hackenberg, who still has not thrown a pass in a regular-season game. Oakland still has Connor Cook and EJ Manuel behind Derek Carr. Manuel played ahead of Cook last season and was summoned into duty when Carr went down early in the season. Cook, however, played as a rookie when both the players ahead of him suffered injuries. There won’t be room for all three of these backups on Oakland’s 53-man roster, though. And Jon Gruden did not make the decisions to acquire Cook or Manuel, perhaps giving Hackenberg a good chance of usurping one of them this summer.
Additionally, the trade involves a conditional seventh-round pick in 2019, per Rapoport, and the compensation is tied to Hackenberg’s playing time.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.