Javon Hargrave earning an $84 million pay day from the San Francisco 49ers sparked widespread reactions from across the league, many praising the NFC runner up for luring in the Pro Bowl interior defensive lineman.
But was there a reaction on the side of the Philadelphia Eagles? There was a loud “Got Damn it!” from one All-Pro on losing Hargrave…though in humor.
Jason Kelce, who announced before the league’s free agency period that he was returning to the NFC champs, spoke out about watching his teammate drift off to the Niners while on his podcast “New Heights” with his brother Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday, March 15 presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment. After the loud, joking response, Kelce said he’s happy for the “grave digger.”
“Javon’s one of the hardest guys I’ve had to block, especially from a pass-blocking standpoint,” Kelce said on the show. “This is a huge acquisition by the 49ers. Him, [Arik] Armstead, they are stacked all over the defense. It was a tough game against them last year and Javon isn’t going to make it any easier.”
Kelce added “They’re big rivals of ours right now. They’re not slowing down. Javon is going to help them out big time.”
The date is still too be determined, but the next time Hargrave returns to Philly, he’ll be on the opposite line of scrimmage as the 49ers and Eagles are set to meet during the regular season in 2023.
49ers All-Pro Also Chimed in, While Insider Became Surprised by Addition
Kelce, the six-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro, wasn’t the only All-Pro who gave a strong reaction to the Hargrave addition. So did a future teammate of Hargrave.
San Francisco All-Pro inside linebacker Fred Warner gave a one-word reaction to the addition, though it was in excited fashion on Twitter:
Warner was excited. One insider who covers the 49ers was in shock. Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area revealed he didn’t see Hargrave signing with the 49ers coming during a Monday, March 13 appearance on KNBR’s Tolbert and Copes Show.
“I was shocked to be honest with you…I thought this offseason was going to be more about treading water…So for them to get a guy like Javon Hargrave is an incredible acquisition,” Maiocco told both hosts.
Early Thoughts on How ‘Grave Digger’ Will be Used Surfaces
Now comes this: How will “grave digger” fit in an already stacked defensive line.
Regardless, Hargrave is a proven every down interior defender. The Athletic’s David Lombardi already lists him next to Armstead in the first group. But most telling: Lombardi has Javon Kinlaw demoted to the second group — pointing to Hargrave taking his spot.
Then there’s this thought: When the 49ers bust out their nickel look with five defensive backs, two linebackers and four defensive linemen on the field, Hargrave isn’t coming off the field in that scenario…and neither is Armstead at defensive tackle:
Time will tell what the complete look and schemes featuring Hargrave will look like. But as Kelce mentioned, Hargrave’s addition isn’t going to make things easier on opponents when they face the 49ers, including his Eagles.