The Pittsburgh Steelers should be done tendering the restricted and exclusive rights free agents they wish to retain this offseason. According to a source, the team has issued a one-year exclusive rights tender to center/guard J.C. Hassenauer. The amount is $895,000, and the Steelers effectively used $70,000 of 2022 salary cap space in tendering him after roster displacement.
Hassenauer made the Steelers’ 2021 roster out of training camp, and he opened the regular season as a backup. In Week 10, the Alabama product and former undrafted free agent was forced into action at the left guard position after starter Kevin Dotson went down with an ankle injury. The next week, Hassenauer started at left guard, but a pectoral injury forced him from the game, and ultimately to the Reserve/Injured list.
Hassenauer returned from the Reserve/Injured list in Week 16 and finished that road game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the center position. He then started the final two regular season games and the team’s lone playoff game at center after rookie Kendrick Green was effectively benched.
In total Hassenauer played 276 regular season snaps on offense and 51 more on special teams. He also played another 68 offensive snaps in the playoff loss to go along with three special teams snaps.
If he hasn’t already, Hassenauer should sign it fairly quickly, and then go on to compete for a roster spot throughout the remainder of the offseason. He is not a lock to make the roster in 2022 with the Steelers signing outside free agents Mason Cole and James Daniels at the start of the league year.
The Steelers’ other two exclusive rights free agents this offseason, defensive tackle DeMarcus Christmas and cornerback DeMarkus Acy, have not been tendered yet. They likely won’t be.