Seahawks Urged to Sign Top-Rated Defensive Free Agent for 2023

Pete Carroll

Getty Head coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks are being encouraged to add one of the top ranked players in NFL free agency.

A lot of focus early this offseason has been on how the Seattle Seahawks plan to re-sign quarterback Geno Smith. Pro Football Focus ranked the 32-year-old signal caller the No. 2 free agent for the 2023 offseason.

CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani, though, has turned his attention to what the Seahawks could do to add to their team. To find the right fit, he didn’t have to go too far down the PFF free agents list.

Dajani argued on February 3 that Seattle’s top priority (after Smith) in free agency should be defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.

“‘Gravedigger’ was a big reason for Philly’s success in 2022, as he racked up 11 sacks and 60 combined tackles,” Dajani wrote. “Hargrave is also one of the interior defensive linemen who can rush the passer, and I guarantee you no one cares he’s about to turn 30 years old.

“He’s going to be in high demand this offseason, and would be a great addition to a team that had the third-worst run defense in the league last year.”

PFF ranked Hargrave its No. 3 overall free agent and top defensive player available to sign this offseason. The only other player ranked ahead of Hargrave on the PFF free agents list besides Smith was Lamar Jackson.

Hargrave’s Versatility as a Defensive Tackle

Hargrave hasn’t received the same recognition as Aaron Donald or Chris Jones, but he’s similar in the sense that he can stop the run and rush the passer from the interior of the defensive line. Hargrave particularly took off as a pass rusher once he joined the Philadelphia Eagles.

He recorded a career-high 7.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hits on the way to his first Pro Bowl in 2021. For an encore, he totaled another career-high in sacks with 11.0 in 2022.

Hargrave appears to be just hitting his stride despite his 30th birthday coming on February 7.

“Hargrave will be 30 years old for the 2023 season, but we’ve seen many interior defenders maintain longevity well into their 30s recently,” PFF’s Brad Spielberger wrote. “Hargrave is also intriguing, as different responsibilities between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have led to interesting splits as a run defender or pass rusher.

“His run-defense grades were much better in his first stop, but it seems he can excel at whatever is asked of him, which is good to know for interested teams that likely don’t frequently deploy a five-man front and do a lot of the other exotic things Philadelphia does up front.”

The PFF player grades only ranked Jones and Dexter Lawrence as better defensive linemen pass rushers than Hargrave in 2022. During 2019, PFF rated Hargrave as a Top 10 defensive linemen against the run.

How Hargrave Fits on Seahawks Defensive Line

The Seahawks could use help in a lot of areas along their defensive line. The defense’s most notable weakness was against the run.

Seattle finished 30th in run defense during 2022, which was a huge factor in the team’s win-loss total. When the Seahawks gave up more than 150 rushing yards, they posted a 1-7 record. They were 8-1 when they held opponents to under 150 rushing yards.

The Seahawks finished ninth with 45 sacks, but they still were only 16th in the NFL with 6.1 net yards allowed per passing attempt.

Meanwhile, Hargrave helped the Eagles lead the league with 70 sacks and 4.9 net yards allowed per pass.

Adding Hargrave could potentially help the Seahawks in both areas. If he can recapture his elite run-stopping form from his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Hargrave would be a huge asset for the Seahawks against the run.

Of course, as one of the top free agents this offseason, Hargrave won’t come cheaply. PFF projected his market value to be an average of $18.33 million annually on a three-year contract.

Spotrac estimated his value to be a little north of $20 million per season on a three-year deal.

The Seahawks possess more than $31 million in cap space going into 2023, but they have yet to re-sign Smith.

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