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Thread: Impressive camp for Steelers NT Hargrave as contract talks near

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    Impressive camp for Steelers NT Hargrave as contract talks near

    Impressive camp for Steelers NT Hargrave as contract talks near

    By JIM WEXELL

    LATROBE -- The tape says so. So does one of the men tasked with blocking him. So does the leader of his unit, a man who normally prefers to calm media enthusiasm.

    They all agree that Javon Hargrave is having an outstanding camp.

    What does Hargrave think about it?

    "I didn't know that," said the Steelers nose tackle. "I'm just trying to work, man. Just trying to put plays together and get better every day."

    Javon, don't you believe them? Don't you feel it?

    "Ahhhh, I do," he said as he cracked a smile.

    Are you just trying to stay humble?

    "Yeah," he said with an sheepish laugh. "It's one of the best years I've had."

    So, it's true, because Hargrave might be his own harshest critic -- if not for Cam Heyward, the veteran leader of the defensive line who's not only a tough critic of younger players, he prefers to temper all media hype.

    "Why would I temper that?" Heyward asked. "He's improved, and he's a big cohort for us. Whether it's a run or pass, he's definitely a force to be reckoned with. And with his flexibility we're able to put him at different positions - and he's dominating everyone."

    That's what they're all saying. Center Maurkice Pouncey hit the locker room early Sunday night with a minor injury, but left guard Ramon Foster - since Hargrave's been playing nickel tackle this camp, too - was able to address Hargrave's improvement.

    "He's playing like he knows it's his contract year," Foster said with a laugh. "No, seriously, he's looking Really. Damn. Good. Like, quicker. His lower body seems stronger. I think he's getting to the point this year where people are going to have to notice him."

    Foster reinforced that he was merely kidding about Hargrave being in salary drive, and that "He's gotten better every year." And, so, it's coinciding perfectly with Hargrave's economic desires. He's entering his fourth season and is a priority for an extension from the front office. Talks will begin with Hargrave and Sean Davis once the Steelers complete negotiations with Joe Haden.

    Davis has missed almost all of camp with a dislocated finger while Hargrave has been working in the trenches in a way that's elicited raves from those who watch tape or have to block him.

    "He's had this one move that he's been trying to perfect and he's actually got it down," Foster said. "I'm glad he's on our side."

    Hargrave was a third-round draft choice in 2016 out of South Carolina State, where he compiled 37 career sacks - a ridiculous total for a 6-1 1/2, 309-pound nose tackle.

    As a rookie, "Wobble," as he was dubbed by Heyward, started 13 games, had 18 solo tackles, 2 sacks and 3 QB hits.

    In 14 starts last season, his third, Hargrave had 32 solo tackles, 6.5 sacks and 8 QB hits. The 6.5 sacks is an unofficial Steelers record for a nose tackle - unofficial because cocked nose Joe Greene, officially a 4-3 tackle, had seasons of 11 and 9 sacks. We also can't be certain that all of Hargrave's sacks came from the nose. He's rotated as a tackle in the 4-man nickel front, and will do even more of that this year.

    "I'm getting a lot of reps there this camp," said Hargrave, who explained why this is his best camp this way:

    "I just know what I'm doing," he said. "I know my techniques and I just know where the ball's going, I know what gap I need to be in. I just know how to make plays. I feel like I've been here long enough. I'm pretty good at making plays, so I'm just working for that."

    He agreed that his coming of age hasn't been intentionally timed for a salary drive.

    "It just feels right," he said. "Being here for my fourth year, I've just tried to grow every year. I really came here in the best shape I've ever been in. That's a lot to do with it, too."

    Hargrave ran more this summer and checked in at 305 pounds. He's part of the reason he says this might be the fastest defense in his time here.

    "We all can run, from the D-line all the way back to safety. I just think everybody on our team is fast. Everybody on our defense can run a 4-something. I think we're all fast, we all can get to the ball pretty quickly."

    Even if one of the league's fastest nose tackles is still called "Wobble."

    "Of course it's stayed on," Heyward laughed about the nickname. "Hopefully we can make some money out of it."

    Oh, he will. Hargrave's getting paid, be certain of that.

    https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh...amp-134194657/

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    Concern about being able to resign Hargrave may be why we are hearing so much about McCullers being used more in more ways and why the team gave him a two year deal. Front office always thinking one move ahead!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Concern about being able to resign Hargrave may be why we are hearing so much about McCullers being used more in more ways and why the team gave him a two year deal. Front office always thinking one move ahead!
    You've got a good point; but they have to pay Hargrave if he's THAT guy this coming season.
    From the 2010-2018 season, (An 8 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks. Our history has been defined by what we do in the postseason; not the regular season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Maniac View Post
    You've got a good point; but they have to pay Hargrave if he's THAT guy this coming season.
    The problem is we are already paying Heyward and Tuitt so it will be hard to pay Hargrove unless we unload one of those guys. Personally, I think both Heyward and Tuitt are overpaid. They aren't as dominant as their paychecks suggest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ikestops85 View Post
    The problem is we are already paying Heyward and Tuitt so it will be hard to pay Hargrove unless we unload one of those guys. Personally, I think both Heyward and Tuitt are overpaid. They aren't as dominant as their paychecks suggest.
    I agree, especially Tuitt.

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    Dulac: Steelers DT Hargrave ‘Next At The Checkout Counter’ For New Contract

    By Dave Bryan
    Posted on August 6, 2019

    Based on several reports so far this summer, the Pittsburgh Steelers will sign cornerback Joe Haden to a contract extension prior to the start of the regular season. Assuming that deal ultimately gets done, will the Steelers also wind up signing at least one more player to an extension in the next four weeks? As of Tuesday morning, it certainly does sound like there’s a good chance of that happening.

    According to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday, Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave will be “next at the checkout counter” after the team gets an extension done with Haden.

    Hargrave, who was originally drafted by the Steelers in the third-round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of South Carolina State, is now in the final year of his rookie contract. Due to him qualifying for the league’s Proven Performance Escalator in his first three seasons in the NFL, Hargrave, who registered a career-high 6.5 sacks last season to go along with 49 total tackles, which was also a career-high for him, is currently scheduled to earn a base salary in 2019 of $2.025 million.

    The biggest question in regard to Hargrave and him possibly signing a contract extension between now and the start of the 2019 regular season revolves mainly around what his annual per year worth is in new money. While he hasn’t been an every-down player with Steelers since being drafted, that’s mainly due to the Steelers being a 3-4 defense at the core. If the Steelers ran a traditional 4-3 defense, Hargrave could likely easily function as an interior defensive tackle and thus his playing time would be much greater.

    Because of Hargrave being a fit for both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, he likely would cash in next offseason as an unrestricted free agent should he be allowed to test the market. He and his agent are probably well-aware of that fact and thus the Steelers will likely need to pay him this summer as a top-15 or higher 4-3 defensive tackle in order to get him signed to an extension.

    According to Over the Cap, Eddie Goldman of the Chicago Bears is currently the highest paid 3-4 defensive tackle with a new money average of $10.510 million. Way, way behind him in second place on that list of 3-4 defensive tackles is Corey Peters of the Arizona Cardinals with a new money average of $4 million. On the site’s list of 4-3 defensive tackles, however, there are currently nine players with a new money average of $10 million or greater. Additionally, on their overall list of combined interior defensive linemen there’s currently 18 players with a new money yearly average of $10 million or greater. Included in that list of 18 players are Steelers defensive linemen Cameron Heyward ($10.4562 million) and Stephon Tuitt ($12 million).

    Hargrave’s market value right now to the Steelers could be somewhere between $10-$11 million. If true, he could potentially become the highest-paid 3-4 defensive tackle in the league in the next month and in the process easily wind up ranked in the top-20 highest paid defensive linemen in the NFL. If I’m Hargrave’s agent, I’m advising the player to demand at least a $10-$11 million new money average from the Steelers this next month as that would likely be his bottom floor worth should he have another solid season in 2019 and be allowed to hit free agency next March.

    When it comes to 2019 salary cap space, signing Hargrave to a lucrative extension can be worked with. Currently, the Steelers have $4,881,218 in available 2019 salary cap space and another $3 million or so of space might become available should an extension ultimately get done with Haden.

    The Steelers hate to let very good players get away from them and Hargrave certainly falls into that classification. Will they ultimately get an extension worked out with him in the next four weeks? We’ll have to wait and see but it certainly is sounding more and more like such a transaction will come to fruition before the start of the 2019 regular season.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/08/du...-new-contract/

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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    I agree, especially Tuitt.
    Yeah; I'd like to see more from Tuitt. But he's by no means a bad player.
    From the 2010-2018 season, (An 8 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks. Our history has been defined by what we do in the postseason; not the regular season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Maniac View Post
    Yeah; I'd like to see more from Tuitt. But he's by no means a bad player.
    do you think Tuitt is worth $12 million/year?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    do you think Tuitt is worth $12 million/year?
    I think the hard part about us paying our D line so much (based on sack numbers) is that for some reason the pressure / sacks we're getting doesn't lead to turnovers.

    I like Hargrave, but if he wants close to market rate or he wants to get more snaps I think he'll decide to walk (and it won't be an unreasonable decision IMO).

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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    do you think Tuitt is worth $12 million/year?
    the way they've been playing,
    no one on this defense is worth that much

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