Giants may have grabbed an offensive line steal in free agency

J.C. Hassenauer, new york giants
Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers center J.C. Hassenauer (60) lines up against the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Wild Card playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants can use all the help they can get on the offensive line, notably at the center position. The 2023 NFL draft represents an excellent opportunity for general manager Joe Schoen to find a long-term solution at C, especially after losing Jon Feliciano and Nick Gates to free agency.

Gates landed a three-year deal with the Washington Commanders, and Feliciano signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. This puts the Giants in a tough spot, but they are excited about a new acquisition from the Pittsburg Steelers they made just last week.

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J.C. Hassenauer, a 6-foot-2 and 295-pound interior lineman from Alabama, is a solid player that head coach Brian Daboll venerates.

“He’s a smart, tough guy,” Daboll said, via the Opelika-Auburn News. “To play offensive line you have to have both of those qualities. You have to be smart and you have to be tough.

The Giants can get good value out of J.C. Hassenauer:

The 27-year-old has played the majority of his professional reps at center, accumulating 545 with the Steelers. He’s also played 147 at left guard between the 2020–21 seasons. This past campaign, he only played 46 snaps but hasn’t allowed a sack over his three-year career.

Daboll spoke highly of his ability to communicate and display toughness at the NFL level, which is certainly something the Giants are looking for at a cheap price point.

“You’ve got to be able to work well with the guys that are beside you and handle the roles that you need to handle in terms of playing that spot. He’s done a really good job of working all year, whether he was starting or not starting. He’s a good, young professional.”

The Giants surely didn’t offer Hassenauer anything more than a veteran minimum deal, allowing them to pluf ab essential depth spot with an experienced lineman Daboll has familiar with.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t view him as a potential starter but rather a nice piece to compete at left guard and center with a bit of upside. Considering his youth and the qualities to be a serviceable supplement, this could end up being a very nice signing for the Giants who still need to find a long-term solution at the center spot.