Steelers Signal Unique Rights Free Agent Middle

JC Hassenauer

Butch Dill/Getty Photos

J.C. Hassenauer (left) celebrates a profitable two-point conversion whereas enjoying for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Soccer League on March 31, 2019.

On Thursday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers introduced that they signed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a brand new contract, liberating up roughly $15 million in wage cap house and opening the door for the staff to start signing free brokers.

The Steelers went to work virtually instantly, inking unique rights free agent heart J.C. Hassenauer to a one-year contract, this in response to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Hassenauer, 25, began 4 video games for the Steelers in 2020 whereas former heart Maurkice Pouncey was out of the lineup. However now the Steelers want a full-time substitute for Pouncey—a perennial Professional Bowler—who introduced his retirement final month after 11 seasons because the staff’s starter on the place.

Hassenauer figures to get an opportunity to earn the beginning job in 2021, however the Steelers will little doubt be trying so as to add not less than one different heart, both by way of the draft or free company.

Hassenauer performed a complete of 303 snaps on offense in 2020, and—in response to Professional Soccer Focus (PFF)—graded out higher than Pouncey, producing a cross blocking grade and a 52.6 run blocking grade for a complete of grade of 57.7. (This as in comparison with Pouncey, who was the PFF’s 30th ranked heart final yr, receiving a cross blocking grade and a woeful 48.1 run blocking grade for a complete of 54.8).

J.C. Hassenauer’s NFL Profession To Date

Hassenauer—6-foot-2 and 295 kilos—got here into the NFL in 2018, signing with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent out of the College of Alabama. He was waived by the Falcons after the 2018 preseason however subsequently frolicked on the staff’s follow squad.

In 2019, Hassenauer performed for the Birmingham Iron of the now defunct Alliance of American Soccer League earlier than signing with the Steelers on April 5, 2019. Although he did not make Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster out of coaching camp, he was signed to the follow squad on November 20, 2019 and added to the lively roster a little bit greater than a month later.

Hassenauer’s School Profession on the College of Alabama

Hassenauer was a reserve guard/heart for many of his time with the Alabama Crimson Tide, enjoying in a complete of 24 video games with simply three begins. Nonetheless, he began within the 2018 Nationwide Championship recreation in opposition to Georgia and graded out as Alabama’s greatest offensive lineman in that contest. He went on to have a powerful professional day, doing sufficient to get himself inked as an undrafted free agent.

In an ideal world, the Steelers would most likely like to search out Pouncey’s long-term substitute on this yr’s draft (versus free company), as a result of Pouncey will rely for $6,475,000 in ‘lifeless cash’ on Pittsburgh’s 2021 wage cap, making an expensive free agent acquisition cost-prohibitive. Following are a trio of prospects that the Steelers would possibly think about within the 2021 NFL Draft, in addition to three unrestricted free agent facilities who would possibly (or won’t) be out of their value vary.

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