The 2022 NFL league year got underway on Wednesday, and we can now confirm that the Pittsburgh Steelers did not exclusive rights tender two players, cornerback DeMarkus Acy and defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas.
The non-tendering of those two players was expected with both players coming off injuries that resulted in them spending 2021 on the Reserve/Injured list. The two players are now free agents.
Christmas, who was originally signed to the Steelers’ practice squad in November of 2020, was signed to a Reserve/Future contract after ending that 2020 season on the team’s practice squad. The former Florida State defensive tackle wound up on the Steelers’ Reserve/Injured list in July after suffering an undisclosed injury. He spent the entire 2021 season on that list and thus never played a snap for the team. He has a bit of an injury history at the NFL level after originally being selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
As for Acy, like Christmas, he spent the entire 2021 season on the Steelers’ Reserve/Injured list. He landed on the list after tearing an ACL during an August training camp practice, and that injury obviously needed to be surgically repaired. To date, Acy has only been a practice squad player for the Steelers.
In total, the Steelers entered the offseason with four players eligible to receive exclusive rights tenders. One of them, long snapper Christian Kuntz, re-signed earlier in the offseason. The other player, center/guard J.C. Hassenauer, was exclusive rights tendered by the Steelers before the start of the league year.