The Christian Hackenberg era with the Raiders is over.
Before the former Jets quarterback could suit up for a game – even an exhibition game – or throw a pass against anyone other than Oakland defenders in practice, he was released Tuesday.
His release came just three weeks after the Raiders traded for the former Penn State standout. But, as head coach Jon Gruden told reporters, the team needed to clear space on the roster for the addition of two veteran defensive linemen signed recently – Frostee Rucker and Ahtyba Rubin – and Hackenberg’s spot was needed. Also released was linebacker Brady Sheldon.
“I was disappointed in not really giving Christian the opportunity to go to camp,” Gruden told the media. “We felt we needed to add a couple of defensive linemen. We ran out of numbers, and that’s not good at that position heading into camp.”
The Raiders, who began a three-day, full-squad mandatory minicamp Tuesday, will go into training camp next month with starter Derek Carr, E.J. Manuel and Connor Cook at quarterback.
Hackenberg, whom Gruden liked as a prospect at Penn State, would have been in the running to compete with Manuel and Cook for the primary backup role behind Carr. Instead, he’ll be looking for a chance to catch on with another team and finally get into a regular-season game.
The Jets selected Hackenberg in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft, but he never appeared in anything but exhibition games over two years.
The Raiders had traded a conditional seventh-round pick in 2019 to the Jets for Hackenberg.