When the Eagles signed Javon Hargrave to a three-year $39M deal, making him the highest-paid nose tackle in Football, expectations were understandably high. Through the opening five weeks, the former Steeler had failed to register a single stat on three occasions. But after a slow start, the production is beginning to pour in.
Through twelve weeks of the season, Hargrave had just 1.5 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and 4 QB hits. Against the Saints, the 6’2, 305 lbs, DT had 3 QB hits alone.
The win over New Orleans saw a huge uptick in production from Hargrave, who added a pair of sacks, a fumble recovery 2 TFL, and 4 tackles to go with that trio of QB hits. He’s registered at least 1 QB hit and 1 TFL in each of the last 3 games. It may have taken a while, but Hargrave is firing on all cylinders as the Eagles head into the most crucial part of the season.
“I think what you see is just steady progress from him.” Jim Schwartz told reporters on Tuesday. “You can’t always judge a guy, and we’ve said this a long time, you can’t always judge a guy just on sack numbers. There’s a lot of other things that go into it, freeing up other people, sometimes you have a great rush, and somebody else will make a sack and sometimes you make a great rush and the ball comes out so fast that you really can’t affect it but you have to keep making steady progress.
And I think Javon has done a good job of making steady progress. He’s getting more and more comfortable in the scheme. We knew it was going to be a little bit of an adjustment period. It took a minute or so for him to get with all the intricacies and techniques that we play. But he does make an impact on the game and I think we’re seeing the reason we liked him so much and the reason we added him to our team.”
It could well have been a case of Hargrave having to transition roles. From playing ‘read-and-react’ in Pittsburgh, to a pass-rushing role where space-eating is good, but penetration is the name of the game, requiring a slightly different skill-set that in a shortened offseason with no preseason, may have taken time to settle in.
After a long wait, Javon Hargrave is finally beginning to leave fans purring and it’s taking a huge weight off of the other defensive tackles. That’s exactly why he was signed. With such a hefty contract, it’s not like he’s going anywhere anytime soon, so this recent spike in production is absolutely key.
The Eagles made a huge investment in Hargrave. Now 27-years-old and entering his prime, he’ll be the 5th-highest paid Eagle in 2021 (4th if Alshon Jeffery is moved). 18.4% of the team’s entire payroll sits on the defensive line. With Fletcher Cox beginning to fight Father Time and Malik Jackson approaching age 31, the team have a high-upside player locked down as a cornerstone to build around.
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