When the Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg they hoped he’d be their quarterback of the future. It’s safe to say that hasn’t worked out.
When the Jets selected Christian Hackenberg in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, they hoped he’d be their quarterback of the future. It’s safe to say that hasn’t worked out. Now the former Penn State signal caller is working desperately to maintain his roster spot with the Jets.
NFL Network is reporting that Hackenberg is working with quarterback guru Jeff Christensen in an effort to completely rebuild his throwing motion. That isn’t a good sign for a player who’s entering his third NFL season. Many league executives were surprised the Jets elected to keep Hackenberg over Bryce Petty. The former Baylor quarterback was given his outright release this week.
At least Petty has actually appeared in an NFL game. He actually made four starts during his Jets career. To date, Hackenberg hasn’t so much as attempted an NFL pass. For that matter, he hasn’t handed the ball off either. Hackenberg is still waiting and hoping for his first regular season game appearance.
The team’s decision to draft Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft was a clear indictment of Hackenberg’s abilities (or lack thereof). Even before the draft, the Jets signed Teddy Bridgewater to come in and potentially compete for the starting job. You can’t forget that last year’s starter, Josh McCown is still on the roster as well.
The presence of so many quarterbacks in the room clearly shows that Hackenberg is in serious trouble. There’s zero chance the Jets will enter the regular season with four signal callers. It’s impossible to get that many quarterbacks meaningful snaps in practice. Keeping four quarterbacks on the roster would also cost New York valuable depth at another position.
It’s worth noting that some NFL teams only carry two quarterbacks into the regular season. If the Jets go that route, Hackenberg has no shot. Darnold is obviously a keeper and it’s hard to see the team parting with a steady presence like McCown. He’s an asset to the Jets even if it’s just in the film room.
That leaves the best possible scenario for Hackenberg as a duel with Teddy Bridgewater for the third spot on the depth chart. The Jets didn’t commit too much guaranteed money to the injury-prone Bridgewater so theoretically Hackenberg has a chance to beat him out.
It’s not a good chance though. It’s significantly more likely that the Jets elect to cut ties with Hackenberg this offseason. Perhaps they can find another team willing to give them a late round pick to kick the tires on the former second round pick, but even that’s not a given. Barring a miracle, Hackenberg is going to go down as one of the biggest draft busts in Jets history.