Despite owning the NFL’s top defense in 2022, the 49ers watched the interior of their defensive line suffer a lot. Javon Hargrave solves that and then some.
If there’s one given for the San Francisco 49ers each and every year, it’s that they’ll spend resources trying to upgrade the defensive line.
2023 is proving to be no different.
In the opening wave of NFL free agency, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Niners were spending big money on former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, giving him a four-year deal worth up to $84 million:
It’s a blockbuster move for a San Franciso squad that lacked some interior punch in the trenches last season despite boasting the NFL’s sack leader, EDGE Nick Bosa.
Despite having spent notable resources on two other defensive tackles, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw, the addition of Hargrave speaks to the dissatisfaction with how much those two contributed last season.
49ers want more from D-line interior, Javon Hargrave provides that
Speaking of Kinlaw and Armstead, both dealt with serious injuries in 2022 that severely tested the 49ers’ interior D-line depth.
Kinlaw, who is entering year four of his rookie deal, has been hindered by knee issues since his first year in the pros, 2020, and the addition of Hargrave likely spells the end of the former’s tenure sooner than later.
Even if Kinlaw is still under contract through 2023.
Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Hargrave comes off a massive 2022 campaign in which he recorded a career-best 11 sacks and 16 quarterback hits for a Philly team that boasted a whopping 70 sacks during the regular season.
While it’ll be a tall order for Hargrave to replicate those efforts again in his first year with the Niners, it does indicate that San Francisco wants to make its own D-line just as formidable as it possibly can.