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ESPN names Eagles star defensive tackle as best free agent fit for Seahawks

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Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The start of NFL free agency is just three weeks away, and there will be watchful eyes on what the Seattle Seahawks do in this pivotal offseason.

ESPN’s Matt Bowen ranked the top-50 free agents last month, and has revisited the list to determine which impending FAs best fit a certain team. Some players could fit on a new team, while others are best suited to stay with their current team.

The only outside free agent considered to be the best fit for the Seahawks is one of the four Philadelphia Eagles to record 10+ sacks on the season, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. This article is paywalled so here’s the relevant part to us:

3. Javon Hargrave, DT

Best team fit: Seattle Seahawks

Coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks can upgrade the defensive front with Hargrave, adding a disruptive tackle with pass-rush juice. This past season, Hargrave notched 11 sacks and 37 tackles, and his pass rush win rate of 17.2% when lined up on the interior ranked third overall in the NFL. And Seattle’s 33.5% pass rush win rate was No. 28 last season. Hargrave is slippery off the ball with the upfield burst to attack the pocket, and he can hold a gap in the run game, too.

Hargrave was also a Pro Bowl alternate selection in 2021 when he recorded 7.5 sacks, so that’s before the Eagles added Haason Reddick into the fold to make one of the most fearsome pass rushes in the entire NFL. The 30-year-old began his career with the other Pennsylvania team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, playing at nose tackle from 2016-2019.

Now this is cool and all but it is a near certainty that the Seahawks won’t even look Hargrave’s way. If Philadelphia doesn’t re-sign him, he will be highly coveted and PFF projects a contract in the range of $18 million per year. His previous contract with the Eagles was three years for $39 million (making him the highest paid NT in the league), and he just had a career-best season, so the one-year “prove-it” deal Seattle loves so much ain’t applicable here.

The Seahawks, for better or worse, are bargain basement hunters in free agency. Sometimes it works out (Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett) and other times it doesn’t (Luke Joeckel, Ziggy Ansah). They’re willing to part ways with major draft capital (see: Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, Jamal Adams) in the offseason but not as willing to break the bank for top-flight free agents who expect to be among the highest paid at their respective position. Maybe there is warranted skepticism in terms of how productive Hargrave can really be on a less stacked defensive line than Philadelphia’s, but within the context of Seattle it’s almost an irrelevant discussion because of the historical precedent set under John Schneider and Pete Carroll.

You have to go back to 2011 to find the last time Seattle could be considered splash players in the FA market. Sidney Rice and Zach Miller both agreed to five-year contracts, while Robert Gallery had a three-year deal. Safe to say the results were injury-riddled and mixed, at best. This is just not how the Seahawks operate and we shouldn’t expect that to change any time soon.

For the record, the lone Seahawks free agent in the top-50 is Geno Smith, and Bowen believes staying in Seattle is the best fit.