Decision Time: Eagles Star Drawing ‘Significant Interest’ in Free Agency

Nick Sirianni

Getty Head coach Nick Sirianni and the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys Week 16.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave might be on the outside looking in at the NFC champions in 2023. He’s set to hit free agency when the calendar turns on the new league year, with no reported contract negotiations yet to take place. Hargrave is going to have plenty of suitors on the open market, too.

The one-time Pro Bowler recorded a career-high 11 sacks in 2022 while ranking No. 11 overall among all qualifying nose tackles. Hargrave made his bones as a dominant pass-rusher, earning a 91.1 grade from Pro Football Focus on 512 pass-rushing snaps. The former Steeler now has 37.5 sacks over seven seasons, including 23 sacks in a midnight green jersey.

It’s no secret the Eagles are going to have to shed salary in order to hand Jalen Hurts the lucrative extension everyone expects the quarterback to get. Hargrave is an unrestricted free agent who earned $12.75 million last season.

His projected salary for 2023 could jump up to $20.1 million per year or three years at $60.4 million (via Spotrac). Philadelphia only has $9.7 million in cap space as the roster is currently constructed. That number will change dramatically once the front office starts restructuring contracts and prioritizing free agents, though.

Will Hargrave get the long-term extension he’s seeking? Maybe. The Eagles have traditionally valued the defensive line, specifically imposing nose tackles, more than other positions. If not, the 30-year-old should garner “significant” interest in free agency.

Heavy’s Matt Lombardo reported: “I’m told if Javon Hargrave reaches free agency, the expectation is the Eagles’ DT will garner ‘significant’ interest, per sources. Hargrave, 30, is coming off a career-high 11 sacks with 57 quarterback pressures.”

Cardinals Could Pursue Javon Hargrave in Free Agency

Jonathan Gannon is the new head coach for the Arizona Cardinals after inking a five-year contract there. He loved Hargrave and knew how to maximize his full potential in their two years together in Philly. It’s not hard to imagine seeing the Cardinals make a serious run at signing the 305-pounder in free agency. It makes sense on multiple levels, with NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo putting it on record. (Hargrave actually re-tweeted the Cardinals announcing Gannon’s hire).

Hargrave is considered the top free agent on the market, at any position. He’s already been linked to the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Minnesota Vikings. Basically, every team in the NFL is going to at least check in on him.

Nick Sirianni Reveals Plan to Replace Gannon

The Eagles are in the process of finding a new defensive coordinator. Lovie Smith has been mentioned as a high-level replacement and the team plans to interview Vance Joseph. Dennard Wilson remains a strong in-house candidate in Philly, too.

Head coach Nick Sirianni addressed the situation during his end-of-year media availability on February 16. He sounded ready to turn over every stone.

“There are candidates outside that we know, there’s a lot of good football coaches out there that we know there as well,” Sirianni told reporters. “Again, there’s going to be core — not as much as the offense, like, where Shane [Steichen] leaves and I’m saying, here’s the offensive scheme that we’re running.

“But with the defense, we’re hiring the guy to do his job. I do have core beliefs that I don’t want to change intermixed with that. But he’s still got to do the job to his best ability — to do his job whoever that may be.”

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