Javon Hargrave is not a household name outside of Steelers Nation. Granted, that’s a pretty big household but it’s still not comparable to casual NFL fans who may have never heard of him. I feel confident in telling you that the other 31 teams in the NFL all know who Hargrave is and if he becomes a free agent next spring those teams will come calling. The Pittsburgh Steelers cannot let it come to that.
Who Replaces Him?
There is currently no one on this roster that can do what Javon Hargrave does. And don’t tell me Cam Heyward or Stephon Tuitt because those guys play different positions for the most part. Hargrave can play over center and he can play in the gaps. His quickness is unparalleled as his penchant for getting to the quarterback compared to the amount of snaps he gets. This would immediately become a major hole to fill come Draft time next year which is troublesome. Outside linebacker would also seem to be near the top as well. In other words, I don’t see anyone on the current roster who can replace him.
Last season Hargrave totaled 49 tackles including 32 solos to go with 6.5 sacks. Comparatively speaking, Stephon Tuitt, who makes way more than Hargrave, had 45 tackles and 27 solos along with 5.5 sacks. Pretty comparable numbers right? So either Hargrave is playing way above his salary or Tuitt is playing well below his. It’s honestly a combination of both but let me add this nugget. Hargrave played 455 snaps in 2018 which was about 44% of the total defensive snaps. Tuitt played a total of 693 defensive snaps or what equates to 66%. Do you see what I see?
I don’t know about you but if I’m producing way more than the other guy in the office despite him getting paid way more, I’m not sticking around long unless I get my fair share. As we all know, this is a business and Javon Hargrave has every right to go get what he deserves.
So What’s the Problem?
First off, do the Steelers want to three defensive linemen all making such huge chunks of money? Secondly, they are reportedly trying to extend Joe Haden which makes total sense. But let me play devil’s advocate for a second.
Joe Haden is 30 and has had some injuries in his past. He’s the most stable cornerback the Steelers have however and keeping him around (he wants to stay in Pittsburgh) is crucial but is his staying any more important than Hargrave’s? Javon won’t be 27 years old until February. Why not extend him first? Unfortunately in the world of football the cornerback position is often viewed as more important than that of an interior defensive lineman depending on the system and the team. That appears to be the very angle the Steelers are taking.
It Will Be a Shame…
If the Steelers and Hargrave can’t work something out prior to the start of this season then I fear the worst. As most of you are aware, the team does not do contract negotiations during the season. What that means is that Hargrave would get to free agency and thus be fair game to any of those 31 other teams who would value his services.
And that my Steelers’ friends will be shame.
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