2023 NFL Free Agency: Javon Hargrave strengthens San Francisco 49ers' already impressive defensive line

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (97) reacts after a sack against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

  • San Francisco 49ers sign Javon Hargrave: The defensive tackle agreed to a four-year, $80,000,000 deal.
  • Upgrades interior defensive line: Hargrave's presence should shore up one of the few weak spots from last year's 49ers defense.
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The San Francisco 49ers are reportedly signing defensive tackle Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $80 million contract. The former Philadelphia Eagle will provide a massive boon to an already stout front seven that includes NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa and several other terrific players.

Hargrave brings an interior presence that was missing for the 49ers last season. Despite leading the league in total defense and boasting the third-best overall grade, the 49ers' interior defensive line graded as the league's third-worst group.

They needed an infusion of talent up front, especially after getting bullied inside by Jason Kelce and the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. Hargrave should make sure that won't be a problem moving forward.

In 2022, Hargrave finished with an 80.1 overall grade — tied for 11th among qualified interior defenders — while his 91.1 pass-rush grade ranked third behind All-Pros Chris Jones and Dexter Lawrence. In fact, he is one of only four defensive linemen to earn a 90.0-plus pass-rush grade in each of the last two years. Only Aaron Donald has a higher pass rush grade over the last two seasons than Hargrave’s 92.4.

Hargrave joins a defensive front that includes:

While some of the 49ers’ depth up front may leave in free agency, they still hold young players Javon Kinlaw and Drake Jackson in high regard. Hargrave’s arrival alleviates the pressure on them to perform.

Hargrave hasn't graded exceedingly well against the run, but he is the rare interior defender who is an elite pass-rusher, which is what the 49ers were seeking to pair with the defensive foundation that ranked second in rushing yards allowed despite their incumbent defensive tackles not holding up their end of the bargain.

The 49ers' signing Javon Hargrave may feel like a luxury, but they filled a specific need with an elite player. His presence shores up one of the few weaknesses from last year's defense, as Jason Kelce’s return to the Eagles assured that the primary obstacle toward a championship isn’t going anywhere. Hargrave’s arrival closes the gap in that matchup, and San Francisco now boasts the best defensive front in the NFL.


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