Eagles need more complete Javon Hargrave in 2022
PHILADELPHIA — In the NFL, today’s luxury can very quickly turn into tomorrow’s necessity.
With the Eagles, that’s best exemplified by a few recent second-round draft picks, with the organization being criticized right now for selecting players like Jalen Hurts and Landon Dickerson without an immediate clear path to playing time.
You’d think Carson Wentz’s rapid regression and Isaac Seumalo’s injury opening up places quicker than expected for these players would open some eyes to how quickly things can change, but the cycle has started again with Cam Jurgens this very year with hints of Jason Kelce retiring after the 2022 season is ramped up.
Less obviously, adding Milton Williams (third round in 2021) and Jordan Davis (No. 13 overall in 2022) with premium picks from a position of perceived strength can also be debated, especially when you see needs. also evident in secondary school.
That’s until you realize Javon Hargrave is entering a contract year and a reset of Fletcher Cox’s debt-ridden deal means none of these veteran DTs are guaranteed to be in Philadelphia in 2023.
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Hargrave, 29, is an interesting move for the Eagles as he just completed a career season in pass rushing terms, earning the South Carolina State product his first Pro honor. Bowl and a Pro Football Focus rating of No. 2 in this part of the game to LA Rams superstar Aaron Donald.
Run support was a different story, however, and one of the reasons the huge Davis was so attractive to the Eagles. Hargrave was No. 131 of 136 DTs against the run, according to PFF.
The Eagles have a decision to make regarding Hargrave, who is entering the final year of a three-year, $39 million contract he signed as a free agent in 2020 to come to Pittsburgh East. And, that’s one that’s probably going to be done during the season.
“I love being in Philadelphia,” Hargrave said Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex. “I feel like these are my best years as a pro. Of course, I love being in Philadelphia.
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“It’s whatever happens.”
Whatever happens, it could be a decision to go year to year with Cox, one of the best defensemen in franchise history, in the final years of his career, or to put off several years with big money in Hargrave.
Despite all the talk of Hargrave’s career year in 2021 and Cox’s decline, PFF still considered Cox the most complete player, ranking 29th best DT to No. 32 for Hargrave.
The latter does not seem affected by the atmosphere of evidence that surrounds him. After all, Hargrave was already forced to do the same thing with the Steelers in 2019 and got close to $40 million at the end of the rainbow.
“I think I approach every year as a contract year in the NFL,” Hargrave said.
Going forward, the goal is to remain one of the best inside pass throwers in the league and couple that with better assist in running support, which should be helped by the addition of Davis, who should free both Hargrave and Cox from also spending a lot of time playing zero or one technique.
“Man, I love playing all over the defensive line,” Hargrave said before lighting up more than three techniques. “Of course I like three, but I also like the nose. It doesn’t matter where I play, just where I can help the team.
The best way to do that, according to yo Hargrave, is to keep climbing.
“I think it just keeps growing and getting better,” he said. “I had one of my best seasons last year. He’s just trying to be even better this year. I think that’s just the goal every year, just to be the best player I can be for the team.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports chat host Jody McDonald every morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show ‘Extending the Play’ on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen