A Philadelphia Eagles star could be taking his talents elsewhere.
As predicted by David Kenyon of Bleacher Report, Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave could sign with the Chicago Bears. Kenyon considers Hargrave to be the top free agent defensive tackle this offseason and argues that the Eagles’ financial limitations may prevent them from re-signing the former Pro Bowler.
“The issue is Philly can’t afford to keep everyone,” says Kenyon. “It’s possible Hargrave has played his way beyond the Eagles’ financial limitations. Philly has 2022 first-round selection Jordan Davis ready to occupy a larger role. He and Hargrave can coexist up front, but the Eagles could instead lean on Davis and a less expensive player.”
Javon Hargrave Turned in Career-Best Performance in 2022
The 30-year-old defensive tackle is currently finishing up a three-year, $39 million deal he signed prior to the start of the 2020 season. According to Spotrac, his projected market value is $20.1 million per year across three seasons at a total of a shade under $60.5 million. That would make Hargrave the third-highest paid defensive tackle in the league.
The veteran has certainly emerged as one of the top interior presences in the league after posting 60 tackles and career-best marks of 11 sacks and 10 tackles for loss this season. According to Pro Football Focus, Hargrave posted a 78.2 defensive grade and a career-best 90.8 pass-rushing grade. His defensive grade ranked 12th among all defensive tackles (with at least 100 snaps), while his pass-rushing grade ranked third in the league.
It’s no surprise that Hargrave posted by far the best pass-rushing season of his career considering the 2022 Eagles historically rank as one of the best pass-rushing units in NFL history. Not only did Philadelphia lead the league with 70 sacks — the next-closest team was the Kansas City Chiefs with 55 sacks — they became the first team in NFL history to feature four different players with at least 10 sacks in the same season.
Why Eagles Face Uphill Battle of Signing Javon Hargrave
Philadelphia’s stacked front seven combined with the fact that they have as many as eight key defensive starters hitting free agency means Hargrave could very well be on the way out. Outside of Hargrave, edge rusher Brandon Graham — who finished the year with 11 sacks — cornerbacks James Bradberry and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and defensive lineman Fletcher Cox will all be free agents. The Eagles have roughly $4.7 million in available cap space entering the offseason, ranking just 15th in the league.
Kenyon argues that the Bears’ plethora of cap space — Spotrac estimates it to be nearly $99 million, the most in the league by $42 million — combined with the idea of pairing Hargrave with potential top draft pick Will Anderson Jr. of the University of Alabama makes the signing of the Eagles defensive tackle “awfully appealing.”
“As mentioned earlier, the Bears have money to burn ($90.9 million),” says Kenyon. “Although the agreement fell through, Chicago quickly targeted Larry Ogunjobi last offseason to headline new head coach Matt Eberflus’ defense. Eberflus has been very public about the unit’s need for an “engine” on the D-line. Chicago has the top pick in April’s draft, and the dream of pairing Alabama edge-rusher Will Anderson Jr. with Hargrave is awfully appealing.”
Considering the Eagles have to worry about re-signing the majority of their defensive core along with the looming contract extension for quarterback Jalen Hurts, it’s probably safe to assume Hargrave will sign a big-money deal with another team.