Christian Hackenberg

Christian Hackenberg Signs With AAF

Former Jets second-round pick Christian Hackenberg has agreed to play for the Alliance of American Football, according to an announcement from the league. He’ll be joined by quarterback Scott Tolzien, wide receiver DeMarcus Ayers, safety Rahim Moore, linebacker Steven Johnson, and tight end Wes Saxton, the AAF says. 

The AAF will kick off in February, meaning that Hackenberg has likely exhausted all present options in the NFL. Hackenberg never saw the field in his two seasons with the Jets and failed to hook on with the Raiders after an offseason trade brought him to Oakland. After that, he lasted only a few weeks on the Eagles’ 90-man roster and his stint on the Bengals’ practice squad ended when he was released earlier this month.

Hackenberg became Penn State’s all-time leader in passing yards (8,457) and touchdowns (48) after three years on campus. His stats did not jump off of the page and he completed just 53.5% of his passes in his final collegiate season, but NFL teams were enamored by his size and pro-style experience in 2016. Jets GM Mike Maccagnan reached for him at No. 51 overall and that gamble never paid off.

AAF contracts probably include an out clause for NFL offers, so Hackenberg and the league’s other players could conceivably get back into the NFL in the second half of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bengals Drop Christian Hackenberg

Former Jets second-round pick Christian Hackenberg is out of work yet again. On Monday, the Bengals released the quarterback from the practice squad and replaced him with fellow signal-caller Connor Cook. The team also signed tight end Andrew Vollert to the ten-man unit. 

[RELATED: Bengals DE Carl Lawson Tears ACL, Done For Season]

Hackenberg, one of Mike Maccagnan‘s most regrettable draft picks, bounced between the Jets, Raiders, and Eagles this offseason. Now in his third year as a pro, he has yet to attempt a pass in the NFL.

Cook, meanwhile, might not be far from a 53-man roster opportunity. Currently, the Bengals are carrying just two QBs in Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel. Cook represents the only QB on the practice squad and he may be the Bengals’ first choice if another arm is needed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sunday NFL Transactions: AFC North

Listed below are the Sunday roster moves for the four AFC North teams. Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline yesterday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters, claiming players off waivers or signing guys who clear waivers. Those transactions for the Ravens, Bengals, Browns, and Steelers are noted below.

Additionally, as of 12:00pm CT today, teams can begin constructing their 10-man practice squads. You can check out our glossary entry on practice squads to brush up on those changes, as well as all the other guidelines that govern the 10-man units, whose players practice with the team but aren’t eligible to suit up on Sundays.

Here are Sunday’s AFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Practice squad:

Cincinnati Bengals

Signed:

Practice squad:

Cleveland Browns

Claimed:

Cut:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Practice squad:

* = international player
** = practice squad exception

Bengals Sign Christian Hackenberg To PS

The Bengals have signed quarterback Christian Hackenberg to their practice squad, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Cincinnati opted to keep Jeff Driskel as Andy Dalton‘s backup after veteran Matt Barkley was placed on injured reserve. Given that the Bengals are only keeping two quarterbacks on their active roster, Hackenberg will serve as the club’s de facto No. 3. He’ll reunite with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, with whom he’s reportedly close, per Garafolo.

Hackenberg, a former second-round pick, has bounced between the Jets, Raiders, and Eagles this offseason. He’s still yet to attempt a pass in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Cut Down To 53

The Eagles’ receiving corps became a bit younger on Saturday. Two veterans brought in as possible depth pieces — Markus Wheaton and Kamar Aiken — were informed they will be released.

So was potential secondary cog De’Vante Bausby and rookie UDFA running back Josh Adams, given one of this year’s largest guarantees among the undrafted contingent. Philadelphia also placed safety Chris Maragos on its Reserve/PUP list, shelving him for at least six weeks.

Here are the players the Eagles will not be including on their initial 2018 53-man roster:

Released:

Waived:

Waived with an injury designation:

Placed on Reserve/NFI list:

Placed on Reserve/PUP list

Eagles Release QB Christian Hackenberg

The Eagles have released Christian Hackenberg, according to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com (Twitter links). The former Jets draft bust hooked on with the Eagles in August, but faced long odds of making the team. Fellow quarterback Joe Callahan has also been cut, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter).

The Eagles still have some level of uncertainty at quarterback between Carson Wentz‘s ACL recovery and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles‘ minor neck injury. Still, one of those two QBs should be ready for the opener and the Eagles remain high on third-stringer Nate Sudfeld. Callahan drew solid reviews this summer, but the numbers crunch was ultimately too much for him to overcome.

The Jets selected Hackenberg with the 51st overall pick in the 2016 draft, but he never saw the field during two regular season campaigns. New York traded the 23-year-old to the Raiders in May, but he lasted less than month on Oakland’s roster. He met with the Patriots and other clubs had interest, so Hackenberg could be a practice squad candidate for another team.

The Eagles have also released tight end Gannon Sinclair as they work their way down to a 53-man roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Brissett, Hackenberg, Cowboys, Seahawks, Bears

We heard yesterday that the Colts‘ had rejected the Seahawks offer of a second-round pick for quarterback Jacoby Brissett. However, Colts general manager Chris Ballard is saying the front office never talked trade with Seattle. The executive told ESPN’s Booger McFarland that the two sides had never discussed a trade for the 24-year-old (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com).

We learned back in March that the Colts had rejected a pair of trade offers for Brissett, who they acquired from the Patriots last year. Colts owner Jim Irsay recently said that his club wouldn’t trade Brissett for a first-round pick, so it sounds like the organization is content with the quarterback as their potential longterm backup to Andrew Luck. Brissett was solid as a starter last season, compiling 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also rushed for an additional 260 yards and four scores.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • After being released by the Raiders and before joining the Eagles, we had heard quarterback Christian Hackenberg had worked out with the Patriots. Well, it sounds like another team expressed interest in the former second-rounder, as Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets that Hackenberg had worked out for the Texans. Houston’s interest in the quarterback could indicate that the team isn’t happy with the current backups to Deshaun Watson, a grouping that includes Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb.
  • The Cowboys added one safety today when they signed Dominick Sanders. However, it sounds like the team is still seeking some reinforcement at the position, as Calvin Watkins of The Athletic tweets that the team will audition Jeron Johnson tomorrow. The former undrafted free agent out of Boise State has managed to appear in 64 games since entering the league in 2011, but he’s only appeared in four games over the past two years. His best season came in 2015 with the Redskins, when he compiled 27 tackles.
  • While the Cowboys continue to seek safety help, there apparently hasn’t been any progress with the Seahawks in regards to an Earl Thomas trade. Watkins tweets that “nothing new is happening” with Seattle, meaning there may not be an end in sight when it comes to the ongoing Thomas saga. The veteran Pro Bowler has sat out the first part of the preseason, and he’s requested a new contract or a trade.
  • The Bears announced (via Twitter) that cornerback Deiondre’ Hall has been suspended for the first game of the upcoming season for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The 2016 fourth-rounder has appeared in 10 games through two seasons with Chicago, collecting nine tackles, three passes defended, and one interception. He was already on the roster bubble for the Bears, and his suspension might improve Doran Grant or Jonathon Mincy‘s chances of making the roster.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Ealy, Eagles

The Cowboys are pondering a position change for free agent addition Kony Ealy, Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram tweets. Ealy has not impressed at defensive end this summer, so he’ll get a longer look at defensive tackle.

Starting defensive tackle David Irving will serve a four-game ban to start the season and Maliek Collins‘ status is up in the air thanks to a foot injury, so Ealy could carve out a role for himself in the middle. The veteran was initially expected to fill Benson Mayowa‘s role as the team’s third defensive end, but Taco Charlton, Charles Tapper, fourth-round pick Dorance Armstrong, and the returning Randy Gregory may be ahead of him on the depth chart at this point.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

Eagles To Sign QB Christian Hackenberg

The Eagles have agreed to sign free agent quarterback Christian Hackenberg, a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Philadelphia has since announced the move as a one-year deal and added that it’s waived/injured center Ian Park.

Philadelphia, of course, is moving starting quarterback Carson Wentz along slowly as he recovers from a torn ACL, while backup and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles is dealing with a minor neck injury that kept him out of practice for several days. But the Eagles are reportedly high on third-stringer Nate Sudfeld, and also have Joe Callahan on their roster, so practice reps might be limited for Hackenberg.

The signing of Hackenberg does not reflect on either Wentz or Foles’ injuries, per Pelissero, who adds the Eagles simply are taking a chance to develop a still youthful quarterback, one who comes with second-round pedigree. With Wentz likely to sit out the entirety of the preseason, Hackenberg could conceivably see snaps as the exhibition season draws to a close.

The Jets selected Hackenberg with the 51st overall pick in the 2016 draft, but he never saw the field during two regular season campaigns. New York traded the now-23-year-old to the Raiders in May (adding a 2019 seventh-round pick that contained conditions that were not met), but Hackenberg lasted less than month on Oakland’s roster. He subsequently met with the Patriots, but hadn’t yet landed a new contract with any club.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Gronk, Bills, Jets

Given what Rob Gronkowski brings to the field, he could make a legitimate case that he has transcended the tight end position and should be compared to game’s best pass catchers, CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry writes. A deal like that is out of the question given that Antonio Brown paces wide receivers with a $17MM/year deal, but it’s still food for thought as Gronk pushes for a revised contract.

Right now, Jimmy Graham is the league’s only $10MM/year tight end and Gronkowski can certainly make a case to earn more than him. And, if Gronk wants to weigh himself against wide receivers, his camp can point to the top of the second tier of the WR market which is in the $13MM/range with roughly $25-$30MM in guarantees.

Of course, the Pats still hold the cards as remains under contract through 2019 with base salaries of $8MM and $9MM in each of the next two seasons. Unless Gronk wants to start up the retirement talk again, or try to force his way out via trade, it seems unlikely that his next contract will be in line with the T.Y. Hiltons of the world.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson has gotten the sense that he could be traded this year if he does not step his game up. “Shoot, I’ve been on the trading block I feel like,” Lawson said (via Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic). “I’ve just been seeing it. Yeah, it’s been a wake-up call. I’ve been hearing trade rumors and then I kind of realized, ‘I’m a first-round pick, third-year now. It’s time to wake up.’ I know I’m a good player. I just have to put it all together and be not just a talented player but a talented player who works hard and works on his craft and skill all together.” Lawson probably has good reason to worry about his security in Buffalo. This offseason, the Bills signed Trent Murphy, who will likely squeeze him out of the starting lineup when he and Jerry Hughes are healthy. Meanwhile, the Bills have already shipped out a number of players from the Doug Whaley era, including Marcell DareusSammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, Reggie Ragland, and Cardale Jones.
  • The CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos have added former Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg to their negotiating list, according to Justin Dunk of 3DownNation.com. It’s unclear whether the former second-round pick is willing to play in Canada, but it’s also unclear as to whether he’ll get another NFL opportunity this year. The Raiders released Hackenberg shortly after acquiring him from the Jets and a recent visit with the Patriots did not result in a deal.