Now that the 2020 offseason has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past season, and with notice to anything that happens going forward.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: G/C J.C. Hassenauer
Stock Value: Down
For the first time since renewing the stock watch series, we’re talking about an up or down evaluation, rather than a straight addition or subtraction. And the first player I’m going to be talking about is J.C. Hassenauer, whose prospects for making the 2020 53-man roster took a hit with the signing last night of veteran free agent Stefen Wisnieski.
Though he has not been a full-time starter for several years now, Wisniewski has over 100 starter under his belt. About to turn 31, he will at worst be the gameday active interior reserve, though it remains a possibility that he could be in the starting lineup at left guard.
There is still a spot open for depth on the 53-man roster, but it’s almost a given that the Steelers are going to continue to address the interior offensive line with a draft pick as well, so that will make it quite difficult for Hassenauer to crack the 53-man roster.
Originally signed by the Steelers last spring after participating in the AAF, the Alabama graduate, who was undrafted and never spent time on a 53-man roster earlier, did not make the team, nor the practice squad, but he would later be signed to the practice squad after Pittsburgh lost Fred Johnson and then Patrick Morris off waivers.
He would ultimately be called up to the 53-man roster for the final game of the regular season, after Mason Rudolph was placed on injured reserve in Week 16. In that same game, starting center Maurkice Pouncey also went down with an injury.
B.J. Finney started that game at center, and Hassenauer did dress for the game to serve as the backup center. The team had nobody else on the 53-man roster or practice squad who was capable of playing center, aside, arguably, from Matt Feiler, who got a little work there recently during training camp and the preseason.
Obviously his chances of making the roster are not completely doomed—if he plays well, he can earn it—but this signing stacks the odds against him pretty heavily.