Eagles' Javon Hargrave earns massive free agency payday from 49ers

Hargrave jumps to 49ers for massive free agency payday originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

An hour after losing starting linebacker T.J. Edwards to the Bears, the Eagles lost Pro Bowl interior lineman Javon Hargrave to the rival 49ers.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the 49ers agreed with Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million deal  including $40 million guaranteed a little over an hour into the legal tampering period.

By agreeing to join the 49ers, Hargrave moves from the No. 2 defense in the NFL to the No. 1 defense in the NFL. The 49ers allowed 15 fewer yards this past season than the Eagles. Free agents can’t officially sign with new teams until 4 p.m. Wednesday.

MORE: Eagles lose T.J. Edwards in opening minutes of free agency

The Eagles and 49ers have developed a nice rivalry, especially in light of the Eagles’ win in the NFC Championship Game after Haason Reddick knocked 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy out of the game. Hargrave jumping from Philly to San Francisco will only make the rivalry even more heated.

The 49ers and Eagles are the top betting favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas next February.

Hargrave, considered one of top free agents on the market this offseason and the No. 1 interior lineman, had 23 sacks in three seasons with the Eagles, including a career-high 11 this past season. He was one of an NFL-record four Eagles with at least 11 sacks.

Over the past three seasons, the only interior NFL linemen with more sacks than Hargrave are Chris Jones (32), Aaron Donald (31) and DeForest Buckner (24 ½).

The Eagles would have loved to bring Hargrave back, but it was pretty clear they had nowhere near the cap space to compete for him.

Hargrave’s average of $21 million per year is tied for 3rd-highest currently in the NFL among interior linemen, behind Donald ($31.67 million) and Daron Payne ($22.5 million) and tied with Buckner.

That’s a lot of money for a 30-year-old lineman – Hargrave turned 30 just before the Super Bowl – but his career arc with career-bests in sacks in each of the last two seasons as well as his durability – he hasn’t missed a game because of injury since 2020 – indicate that Hargrave has a lot of very good football left.

Pro Football Focus ranked Hargrave as the 13th-best interior lineman during the regular season with a 78.2 grade and 3rd in terms of pass pressure behind only Dexter Lawrence of the Giants and the Chiefs’ Jones.

After spending his first four years with the Steelers, Hargrave earned $39 million in three years with the Eagles. He made his first Pro Bowl in 2021 and should have made a second this past season.

One of Hargrave’s position coaches with the 49ers will be Darryl Tapp, who spent 2010 through 2012 with the Eagles.

With Hargrave gone and Fletcher Cox, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh also hitting free agency, the Eagles are left with only Milton Williams and Jordan Davis in the interior line, and neither is the level of pass rusher that Hargrave and Cox are.

In addition to Edwards and Hargrave, defensive starters James Braderry, Chauncy Gardner-Johnson, Kyzir White and Cox are now hitting free agency.