Javon Hargrave was one of the best pass-rushing interior defenders in the NFL this season, having a career year as he's set to hit the free agent market for the second time since joining the league in 2016.
Part of a Philadelphia Eagles defense that finished with 70 sacks in the regular season (third most in NFL history), Hargrave was one of four players on the Eagles defense who finished with 10-plus sacks on the season (the most for any team in NFL history). He finished the season with a career-high 11 sacks, 57 pressures, 40 hurries, 16 quarterback hits and a pressure rate of 13.2%.
Hargrave finished fourth amongst defensive tackles in sacks, eighth in quarterback hits, tied for eighth in tackles for loss (10) and 11th in tackles (60). Since signing with the Eagles in 2020, Hargrave is fourth amongst defensive tackles in sacks (23), tied for seventh in quarterback hits (42) and tackles for loss (24).
One of the most durable players at his position, Hargrave has missed just three games in his seven seasons. Just turning 30 years old, Hargrave is primed for one more big payday this free agent season.
Everything you need to know regarding Hargrave's free agency is available here. From projected landing spots to a market value, CBS Sports has all the news and updates surrounding one of the most intriguing players on the market this month.
Salary cap figures come from Over the Cap
Potential landing spots
Philadelphia Eagles: While it's ideal for the Eagles to keep Hargrave on their stacked pass rush, Philadelphia also has decisions to make regarding its other key free agents in James Bradberry, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Miles Sanders, T.J. Edwards and Isaac Seumalo. Hargrave should be a top priority to pair with young defensive tackles Jordan Davis and Milton Williams over the next few seasons, but the Eagles could look to get creative with the veteran free agent defensive tackles they also have (Fletcher Cox, Linval Joseph, Ndamukong Suh). The Eagles' decision on Hargrave will depend on his market.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks will need help at defensive tackle with Poona Ford hitting free agency, and Hargrave would be an excellent solution to help shore up a run defense that allowed 150.2 yards per game (30th in NFL). Seahawks defensive tackles had just five sacks in 2022, six fewer than the 11 Hargrave amassed. The Seahawks have $24,442,644 in available salary cap space, plenty of room to make a run at Hargrave.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns are going to be players in the defensive tackle market, meaning they'll certainly take a look at Hargrave -- who played under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in Philadelphia in 2020. Cleveland has Jordan Elliott and Perrion Winfrey as their defensive tackles with Taven Bryan hitting free agency. Will they pay Hargrave a high salary with Myles Garrett getting a premium as one of the premier edge rushers? Cleveland doesn't have the cap space (-$13,415,552) to make a run at Hargrave right now, yet the Browns will certainly take a look at Hargrave given how Schwartz likes to generate pressure on the quarterback with his front four and due to Hargrave's relationship with Schwartz.
Chicago Bears: Having one of the worst run defenses last season didn't help the Bears win football games, as Chicago allowed 157.3 yards per game (31st in NFL) and 31 rushing touchdowns (32nd in NFL). Hargrave will be an interior presence Chicago desperately needs, regardless how he's utilized in Matt Eberflus' scheme. The Bears had just 20 sacks last season and need to shore up their defensive line, which is why they may overpay Hargrave (Chicago has $98,029,155 in available cap space). Hargrave had more sacks (11) than the Bears' entire defensive line (10.5), so Chicago badly needs a player of his caliber if it wants to actually win games in 2023.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Why not go back to the franchise that originally drafted you? Hargrave was a good player in his four years with the Steelers, racking up 14.5 sacks while primarily playing nose tackle in Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler's defense. The Steelers had issues getting to the quarterback last season compared to previous years (40 sacks in 2022 was 14th in the NFL compared to leading the league with 55 sacks in 2021). Pairing Hargrave with T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith would arguably make the Steelers' pass rush one of the best in the NFL again.
Spotrac has Hargrave's projected value at three years and $60,454,050 -- an average annual value of $20,151,350. Based on players who received similar deals around Hargrave's age, Cameron Hayward signed a four-year deal worth $65,600,000 (average $16,400,000) at the age of 31, Aaron Donald netted a three-year deal worth $95,000,000 (average $31,666,667) at 31, and Michael Brockers signed a three-year deal worth $24,000,000 (average $8,000,000) at 29. Teammate Fletcher Cox signed a one-year deal at $14,000,000 last season at 31.
Hargrave would be the fourth-highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL based on his projected salary, with only Donald, Leonard Williams, and DeForest Buckner having a higher average annual salary. With Hargrave being fourth at his position in sacks this season and over the past three seasons, his ranking in salary would match his production as a pass rushing defensive tackle.
A three-year deal would get the production needed from Hargrave, and fit when he's worth in free agency.
The Eagles would be ideal to keep Hargrave on that dominant pass rush, especially since he would have more opportunities to get to the quarterback with new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. Hargrave would be the perfect complement to second-year player Jordan Davis on the interior, as Davis would free Hargrave up for opportunities at the quarterback, thanks to his massive frame.
If the Eagles choose to pass on giving Hargrave a massive deal, the Seahawks and Bears could be significant players for him due to their problems on the interior -- needing a presence to disrupt the quarterback and disrupt the opposing run game. Hargrave is great in both areas, making him one of the best free agents in 2023.