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Bengals make changes to practice squad, give up on QB Christian Hackenberg

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The Bengals have swapped practice squad quarterbacks and added a tight end to the group.

NFL: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals signed quarterback Connor Cook and tight end Andrew Vollert to the practice squad, and released quarterback Christian Hackenberg from the practice squad, the team announced on Monday.

Cook (6-4, 215), a third-year player out of Michigan State, was originally a fourth-round draft pick of Oakland in 2016. He played in one regular-season game for the Raiders, and completed 14 of 21 passes for 150 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He was released by Oakland at final cuts this season, before later spending time on Carolina’s practice squad. He takes Hackenberg’s spot on the practice squad as the third in line on the Bengals’ quarterback depth chart. Andy Dalton and Jeff Driskel are the lone quarterbacks on the team’s 53-man roster.

Hackenberg, a third-year player out of Penn State, had signed to the Bengals practice squad on Sept. 3. This move signals the Bengals joining a list of other teams who gave up on Hackenberg.

Vollert (6-5, 245), a rookie out of Weber State, originally signed with Arizona as a college free agent in May. He played in all four preseason games for the Cardinals, and caught eight passes for 55 yards. He was waived at final cuts, then signed to the Cardinals’ practice squad, where he spent the first eight games of the season before being released on Oct. 30. This move makes sense as the Bengals’ tight end group is a mess. Tyler Eifert, Mason Schreck, and Cethan Carter are all on Injured/Reserve. Tyler Kroft is dealing with a foot injury that’s kept him sidelined and looks like it will continue to do so. And, C.J. Uzomah hurt his shoulder against the Buccaneers and did not practice on Monday.

This offers the Bengals some insurance at a constantly-depleted position. The Bengals’ 53-man roster currently includes Matt Lengel and Jordan Franks at tight end in addition to Kroft and Uzomah.