Browns Have Eagles Veteran Tackle on Free Agent ‘Wish List’

Javon Hargrave

Getty Fletcher Cox of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with Brandon Graham and Javon Hargrave.

The Cleveland Browns are expected to prioritize rebuilding their defensive line this offseason and Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave is a prime target.

Hargrave will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, although the NFC champs will no doubt try to keep him around after a big year. Hargrave notched 60 tackles last season, also collecting a career-high 11 sacks — putting him among the elite interior lineman in terms of getting to the quarterback.

Hargrave was identified by insider Mary Kay Cabot as a player the Browns could have on their wish list this offseason, especially considering his history with new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Here’s what Cabot had to say about the potential signing:

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz needs the horses up front to run his attack-minded scheme, and he’ll likely have a couple of Pro Bowl-caliber defenders on his wish list. It’s tough at this point to determine which targets are realistic, because many of them could re-sign with their current teams or get franchised.

But there are some intriguing defensive linemen who are set to the hit market, including some who have played for Schwartz. One is Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, a 2021 Pro Bowler who had 11 sacks in 2022. His market value is about $20 million a year, but I think he’s worth it if the Browns can clear the space.

The Browns’ defensive tackle group was one of the worst in football last season and they lack a veteran presence. Cleveland struggled to stop the run as a whole and failed to put consistent pressure on the quarterback, aside from Myles Garrett, who had 16 sacks.

Hargrave Big Fan of Browns DC Jim Schwartz

Having Schwartz installed as the defensive coordinator could help recruit someone like Hargrave, playing for him in Philly.

“I had Jim the first year I got (to Philadelphia) and one, I love his defense,” Hargrave told during Super Bowl week. “His defense really features the defensive line and is all about the attack front, but Jim, he’s an aggressive coach and a great guy to play under.”

Schwartz has been very open about that attacking mentality he plans to bring to the table.

“I like to call it an ‘attack defense,’” Schwartz said. “We’re not a ‘read’ team up front. We’re an ‘attack’ team. We’re going to be disruptive. We’re hitting spots. It’s probably not as wide as it used to be, but it’s pretty simple in theory. It allows the players to play fast and puts them in the best position to rush the quarterback and play the run in between.”

Yannick Ngakoue Mentioned as DE Option for Browns

The Browns are also in the market for an impactful pass-rusher to play opposite Garrett. Cabot mentioned impending Colts free agent Yannick Ngakoue as a fit for Cleveland.

“Colts edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue would be an excellent addition. He had 9.5 sacks in ‘22 and wouldn’t come cheap, but he’d be the perfect complement to Myles Garrett,” Cabot wrote. “I doubt the Browns could add both [Ngakoue and Hargrave], but even one would help tremendously.”

Ngakoue has 65 sacks in 110 games over his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota VikingsLas Vegas RaidersBaltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts, with 19.5 of those coming over the last two seasons.

Ngakoue certainly will have his suitors this offseason. ESPN listed Ngakoue as one of the top 50 free agents this offseason, with the former Pro Bowler coming in at No. 32.

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