Despite a rather inconsistent college career at Penn State, the New York Jets surprisingly invested a second-round draft pick in quarterback Christian Hackenberg in 2016. The fourth quarterback off the board spent his entire rookie year on the sidelines as New York’s fourth-string option at the position. His standing on the team did not improve in 2017 as Hackenberg again did not see any regular season playing time.
This offseason, therefore, the team decided to move on from the 51st pick of the 2016 draft: Hackenberg was traded to the Oakland Raiders for a conditional seventh-round selection. The 23-year old did not last long with the team and after not even a month was let go again. After clearing waivers, Hackenberg is now free to join any team in the league – and it looks as if one has already shown some interest.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the New England Patriots brought the Penn State product in for a free agency workout yesterday. The reigning AFC champions currently have three quarterbacks under contract, so there does not appear to be an immediate need at the position: Tom Brady is the undisputed starter, with veteran Brian Hoyer the top backup option. Seventh-round rookie Danny Etling serves as the third-stringer and is competing for a roster spot.
Hackenberg, if brought on board, would likely battle Etling for a role on the team or its practice squad. However, with New England currently having 90 players under contract it would have to free a spot elsewhere to sign the ex-Jet. While this could certainly happen, the Patriots might just take a look at the passer to update their file on him and assess whether or not he would be an emergency option worth pursuing if need be.