As of the time of this post the 2020 NFL league year is still on course to get underway on March 18. And whenever it does start, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave is expected to become an unrestricted free agent and then quickly sign with a new team. How much will Hargrave ultimately sign for? Former NFL agent Joel Corry of CBS Sports attempted to answer that question in a Wednesday post.
Corry speculates that Hargrave should command a contract from a team that totals out at $77.5 million over five years and include $42.5 million in total guarantees of which $35 million would be fully guaranteed at signing. That equates to $15.5 million per year.
Hargrave took advantage of an increased snap count in 2019 due to Stephon Tuitt’s torn pectoral muscle. The top of the market for run stuffing interior defensive lineman is the $12.5 million per year Linval Joseph received from the Vikings in a four-year extension he signed in 2017 with $31.5 million of guarantees. Hargrave is more disruptive than the typical run stuffer. He has 10.5 sacks over the last two seasons.
Corry’s projected contract for Hargrave is seemingly very realistic and especially with the projected 2020 franchise tag amount for defensive tackles currently being $15.5 million, according to Over the Cap. It’s hard to imagine Hargrave’s new deal not coming in close to what Corry projected as the former third-round draft pick out of South Carolina State is certainly deserving of such a contract based on his play the last few seasons.
Assuming Hargrave does ultimately sign a contract close to what Corry projected, the Steelers should benefit via the compensatory formula. In short, the Steelers will likely gain a third-round compensatory draft pick value on their side of the free agent loss column once Hargrave signs a new deal, which could be a little less than 10 days from now.
On a somewhat related note, Corry projects Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett will ultimately sign a five-year, $100 million contract with a team during free agency if not given the franchise tag in the coming days. Barrett registered a league-leading 19.5 sacks in 2019.
Barrett’s projection by Corry is interesting due to Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree being poised to hit free agency should the Steelers not ultimately place the franchise tag on him in the coming days. While Dupree isn’t likely to command $20 million on the free agent market like Barrett should he wind up seeing it, he’ll likely want an extension not too far off from that and especially with the projected franchise tag amount for linebackers currently projected to be a little more than $16 million.
In short, even if Dupree is ultimately tagged by the Steelers, he’ll likely expect an extension over the summer that averages at least $17 million per season. The deadline for him to sign such an extension is the middle of July if tagged by the Steelers. Should, however, Dupree not be tagged by the Steelers, Dupree will still likely see a free agent contract from a team worth at least $16 million per season and I’m willing to bet Corry would agree with that speculation. In turn, the Steelers would likely receive another third-round compensatory value, or at the very least a fourth-round value, should Dupree ride off via free agency like Hargrave.