The San Francisco 49ers clearly weren’t satisfied with having the league’s best defense in 2022.
They went ahead and added, arguably, the best defensive tackle in this free agency cycle on Monday, March 13 — shaking up the NFL in the process during the week of the free agency signing period.
Per ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter before 1:20 p.m. Eastern, the 49ers have signed former Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million deal.
The Athletic’s 49ers insider David Lombardi didn’t take long to call the move what it is.
“This is a MASSIVE move for the 49ers, addressing their biggest weakness by signing the top DT available, Javon Hargrave,” he said. “Also very notable: The 49ers take away from the chief NFC rivals, the Eagles, with this signing.”
Others Sound Off on Blockbuster Signing
Hargrave has had his name mentioned with several potential suitors. Rightfully so, following his breakout 2022 that saw him deliver a career-best 11 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss for the NFC champs.
But the very thought of the 6-foot-2, 305-pound interior defender getting plugged on the 49ers defensive line sparked a bevy of reactions — including from Heavy NFL senior reporter Matt Lombardo.
“The 49ers defensive line is going to be a PROBLEM,” Lombardo tweeted while naming off the projected starting lineup for next season with Hargrave next to Javon Kinlaw and having Nick Bosa plus Arik Armstead as the book ends.
The NFL Twitter account was another who posted its reaction…one with the concerned emoji face, likely for teams now having to game plan for the 49ers’ front line.
Meanwhile, 49er fans began posting past clips of Hargrave and the damage he’s capable of:
The account for Bleacher Report Gridiron gave this prediction following the signing.
“San Francisco’s DL is going to be scary,” they shared after the signing was announced.
NFL analyst and former linebacker Emmanuel Acho of Fox Sports is another who praised the move while also compartmentalizing his fit to the 49ers defense.
“Bang bang Niner gang,” Acho began. “The Niners just took one of the biggest weaknesses, the three-technique tackle opposite of Armstead and made it a strength.” Acho included how the 49ers added another beast of a defender in a defense full of them.
Hargrave Sounds Off
Meanwhile, Hargrave himself sounded off on Twitter. But one post was in the cryptic category which signaled something was coming on his end:
Then came this next one before the report surfaced of his signing:
Finally, Hargrave gave a two-word “Yesss sirr” reaction to Schefter’s report.
Again, the 49ers are adding a defender who became an integral part of the league’s best pass rush. And in each season with the Eagles, Hargrave saw some of his numbers improve. Per Next Gen Stats, Hargrave held this pass rushing mark that no other defensive tackles had.
“Javon Hargrave generated a 14.1% pressure rate over the last two seasons, the only defensive tackle over 12% (minimum 500 pass rushes),” they posted. Next Gen Stats also added how the 49ers “recorded 59 pressures combined in 2022,” which ranked as the fourth fewest in the NFL.
Hargrave did his damage surrounded by Hasson Reddick, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. He’s officially heading to an interior line that produced just a combined three sacks in 2022.