Report: Giants Visiting With Center J.C. Hassenauer Wednesday

The New York Giants are reportedly hosting a visit with free agent center J.C. Hassenauer. According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the team is bringing Hassenauer for a visit today.

Hassenauer was one of four Pittsburgh Steelers’ restricted free agents that the team chose not to tender. The team has brought back one of those in CB James Pierre, but it’s unclear if they plan to do the same with Hassenauer and WR Steven Sims, who recently visited the Houston Texans.

Undrafted out of Alabama, Hassenauer briefly spent time with the Atlanta Falcons before joining the AAF’s Birmingham Iron for their spring league. Pittsburgh signed him in 2019 and he bounced on and off the roster. He found stable ground in recent years, starting seven games across 2020 and 2021, playing more guard in 2020 and more center in 2021. In 2022, he served as Mason Cole’s backup throughout the entire year, only logging 46 offensive snaps as the Steelers’ line stayed remarkably healthy.

Hassenauer lacks size but has interior versatility and is regarded as a smart player. He outplayed rookie Kendrick Green at the end of the 2021 season and has worked at all three interior spots. Here was our evaluation of him in the summer. 

“The team’s backup center, he ran as the #2 behind Mason Cole for most of training camp. He saw some left guard work later on but he should be next-man-up in the middle. He lacks size or strength but has active hands and is able to win rushes early, knocking defender’s arms downs with the ability to finish. His aggression and demeanor are what you’re looking for in the position. But here’s the rub – he has to win early. If he’s sitting back and catching, he’s screwed and he lacks the lateral quickness to handle finesses moves and athletic one-techs. Meyer’s system asks centers to do more in pass protection instead of just finding work and helping and that could be an issue for Hassenauer. He’s pretty limited but the team’s second-best center and earned everything he’s gotten. There’s bigger fish to fry than worrying about him, though a multi-week injury to Mason Cole would be a tough blow to this unit.”

Should Hassenauer sign elsewhere, the team won’t have a clear backup center. Free agent additions Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig have a small amount of center experience but aren’t natural there. Also in the mix would be Ryan McCollum, signed to the Steelers’ training camp roster last summer. He spent 2022 on the practice squad but logged 101 offensive snaps for the Detroit Lions in 2021.

We’ll update you if Hassenauer is signed. So far, the team has lost CB Cam Sutton and LBs Devin Bush and Malik Reed in free agency.

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