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Ex-Jets bust Christian Hackenberg fixes flaw, hopes to reboot in AAF

A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:

1. Hack is back: For those befuddled and frustrated by the Jets' refusal to play Christian Hackenberg in 2016 and 2017, well, now is your chance to see him in a game that means something. The former second-round pick is expected to start Sunday for the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football, an eight-team developmental league that kicked off this weekend. Kickoff is 4 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network.

Hackenberg, who bounced around in 2018 from the Jets to the Oakland Raiders to the Philadelphia Eagles to the Cincinnati Bengals, sounds excited about the prospect of rebooting his career. He was a bitter man on his final day with the Jets (last May 22), criticizing the team for turning its back on him. He claimed the coaches refused to help him fix a mechanical flaw in his throwing motion. A few hours later, he was traded to the Raiders for what amounted to a bag of kicking tees.

He will be remembered as one of the worst draft picks in Jets history, and that's saying something. To say general manager Mike Maccagnan miscalculated would be an understatement. With the 51st pick, he chose a quarterback who couldn't throw straight and played as if he had blinders on. Former coach Todd Bowles thought Hackenberg was so ill equipped that he wouldn't play him in the ultimate garbage-time situation -- the final half of the final game in the 2017 season. (Word has it that Bowles wanted to draft defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who went to the Jacksonville Jaguars early in the third round.)

Hackenberg apparently doesn't want to revisit that chapter in his life; he turned down an ESPN interview request at the time of the AAF draft in November. He's focusing on the present, hoping his revamped throwing motion can save his career.

“I don’t think I’ve thrown the football this good ever,” Hackenberg told Penn Live. “Like, I wish I had this five years ago. But the good news is I’m 23, I’m sure I can do it and I did it. Now it’s just about going out and playing.”

The Memphis offensive coordinator is David Lee, a former NFL quarterbacks coach who worked with Hackenberg last offseason. Lee believes Hackenberg, after thousands of reps, has shortened his elongated throwing motion, which included a ball flip at the top of his delivery. Basically, he was a mechanical mess, but now he gets a fresh start in a new league.

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im getting a perez jersey. I think Birmingham is going to be my team. 

He’d probably miss and put it in the wrong hole 

How does Maccagnan have a job?

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2 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

Smart man.  Never bet on a guy who couldn't complete 60 % of his throws against the Hoosiers!

Watch out...the Hoosiers are coming.

38th ranked recruiting class this year.

Landed Jack Tuttle in a transfer, the 8th ranked Pro QB recruit in the 2018 class....

Hoosier's are making moves!  Maybe one day we can finish 3rd in the Big Ten East!

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51 minutes ago, JetFreak89 said:

That's not entirely true....players who are cut by the NFL and want to join the AAF are given first rights to certain teams based on who they played for in the NFL. So technically, if you want to root for team affiliated with the Jets it would be the Orlando Apollo's. 

Here is a list of the NFL "affiliates" for each team: 

NFL Team affiliations

These are not random. NFL Teams have player rights to AAF teams players and they are as follows:

Arizona Hotshots - /r/ARZHotshots

Atlanta Legends - /r/ATLLegends

Birmingham Iron - /r/BHIron

Memphis Express - /r/MemExpress

Orlando Apollos - /r/OrlApollos

Salt Lake Stallions - /r/SLCStallions

San Antonio Commanders - /r/CommandersSA

San Diego Fleet - /r/SDFleet


The highlighted sentence in what you quoted is not accurate. 

The chart you quoted shows how players were assigned to the various AAF teams...none of these NFL teams retain rights to any AAF player.

Essentially and AAF player sign contracts with the AAF (the league) not with the individual teams.  The league then allocated the players to the various teams based upon the chart you posted.  This is done to try to drum up local interest in the team by having players on the team that were affiliated more with the location, primarily by their college first.

Interestingly - while an AAF player can get out of his contract to go to the NFL, they cannot get out of their contract to go to the XFL.



Built in to the player contracts are several clauses that limit a player’s ability to leave the league, unless it is to go to the NFL. What’s clear so far is that players may not leave the AAF to go to the CFL or XFL. This is particularly interesting because the XFL is a year behind the AAF on it’s start date and organization. By not allowing movement to the XFL, the AAF is effectively swallowing up the talent pool ahead of time. It’s a smart decision for the league, and prevents the possibility of a bidding war.

What is allowed, however, is movement to the NFL. One of the league’s goals is to create a pipeline from the AAF to the NFL, so making it easy to move up makes sense for the AAF. The contracts do require a “hard offer” to a player – an official invite to a minicamp, for example – not just a random tryout offer.

But the NFL teams have no rights to any individual player...they are all free agents.




All players currently under contract with the AAF are eligible to be signed by an NFL team. With rosters maxed out at 90, however, and with each of those players already not in a training camp, the chances of getting a phone call are slim.

More AAF players surely will be added when the NFL’s rosters shrink from 90 to 53 per team, flooding the market with guys who still want to play football.


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12 hours ago, IndianaJet said:

There are no affiliations between an NFL team and an AAF team.

All of these guys are essentially free agents....I would imagine the AAF contract has a clause that let's them immediately opt out if they get signed by an NFL team....but there are no team affiliations.

The teams in the AAF are owned by the AAF itself.

As explained in depth by Mark Inabinett at AL.com, AAF teams initially draw from local university programs. Otherwise, they are connected by the league office to players who last suited up for the closest NFL or CFL team. Any remaining players — those from unaffiliated universities and never signed to an NFL or CFL team — are considered free agents.


That means that the New Orleans Saints are affiliated with the Memphis Express, for player recruitment purposes. In addition to the Saints, the Express draw from professional teams including the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, and CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.



So it's a loose affiliation, it's not like minor league hockey affiliations 

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