The Christian Hackenberg era with the New York Jets is mercifully over, but his NFL career might not be done yet.
The Jets shipped Hackenberg to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a conditional 2019 7th-Round selection. The conditions of the draft compensation hinge upon how many games Hackenberg is on the roster for with the Raiders, per NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport.
Hackenberg’s time with the Jets doesn’t offer many fond memories. Mainly, it was filled with hot air about the Penn State product’s “progress,” as well as speculation about whether the former prodigious prospect would ever see the field.
Spoiler alert: he didn’t. Hackenberg was one of the only players in NFL history who didn’t see the field during their first two seasons after drafted in the second round or earlier.
The Jets infamously took Hackenberg in the second round of the 2016 draft, a move that might go down as Mike Maccagnan’s worst of his four-year tenure. While the draft pick remains an all-time stinker, let’s credit Maccagnan momentarily for at least getting draft compensation for him.
Perhaps the only coach in the league who still believes in Hackenberg is Raiders coach Jon Gruden. He gushed about Hackenberg while working for ESPN before the 2016 draft.
Nobody should be surprised that Raiders’ HC Jon Gruden traded today for former Jets’ QB Christian Hackenberg considering this: pic.twitter.com/Um4S1IFC7a
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 22, 2018
Gruden will now take ownership of the reclamation project that is Hackenberg, who appears to be broken beyond repair by his college days. Hackenberg will compete for a roster spot behind starter Derek Carr with fellow 2016 draftee, Connor Cook, and uninspiring veteran – and former first-round pick – EJ Manuel. If he beats out one of them for third-string duties, then the Jets could get slightly better compensation.
In the end, the Hackenberg era was another failed chapter in the Jets’ chronically bad quarterback novel. Let’s hope Sam Darnold at least sees the field during his first two professional seasons. If Hackenberg has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is out of the realm of possibilities – good or bad – at the position.