Like characters in a story, every NFL player’s career has an arc. Follow a player’s arc and most of the time it reveals a lot about the individual’s talent, dedication and character. Just think of Jerome Bettis‘ “face of the franchise” career journey and you’ll see what I mean.
Yet sometimes the opposite happens. Sometimes a player’s career arc reveals more about the team than the player. Such is the case with J.C. Hassenauer who is about to become an Restricted Free Agent.
Capsule Profile of J.C. Hassenauer’s Career with the Steelers
After watching undrafted rookie free agent J.C. Hassenauer spend 2018 going on an off the Atlanta Falcon’s practice squad, the Steelers signed him in the spring of 2019 and he made the practice squad earning a promotion to the active roster for the season finale against Baltimore.
Hassenauer got his first start against Baltimore in November 2020 at center and started two more games at center and one at guard due to injuries to Maurkice Pouency and Matt Feiler. J.C. Hassenauer started against the Chargers in 2021 when Kendrick Green was out, and started the final two games of the season plus the playoff loss to the Chiefs.
In 2022 Hassenauer only logged 46 snaps with the offense, but he did log 71 special teams snaps, a slight increase from two years before.
The Case for the Steelers Resigning J.C. Hassenauer
The Steelers know what they have in J.C. Hassenauer. He brings position flexibility to the interior of the offensive line.
The Case Against the Steelers Resigning J.C. Hassenauer
J.C. Hassenauer isn’t going to keep any opposing defensive line coach up at night. Position flexibility is nice, but is it really worth $2.627 million? For a guy that in his third year play 46 snaps? You’re kidding right?
Curtain’s Call on the Steelers and J.C. Hassenauer
At first glance the J.C. Hassenauer’s career arch of starting 7 games at two positions in 2020 and 2021 and then failing get on the field in year 3 seems pretty damning. But in reality, this reveals more about the sorry state of those Steelers offensive lines than it does about J.C. Hassenauer.
J.C. Hassenauer has some serviceable skills and an ability to step in and play or even start of a pinch at guard or center. Kind of a modern day Doug Legursky lite.
- But even if that is true, is Hassenauer worth $2.627 million restricted free agent tender?
Probably not. Even without thinking about who the Steelers might draft, Kendrick Green brings the same position flexibility at a far lower salary cap hit. The Steelers should most certainly bring Hassenauer to St. Vincents, but they can do so for far less than 2.6 million.