Invading the Enemy: Is Steelers NT Javon Hargrave a Possible Free-Agent Target for Ravens?

Todd Karpovich

The Ravens might need to replenish their defensive line because of the potential loss of some key playmakers.

Michael Pierce, Justin Ellis, Domata Peko and Jihad Ward are unrestricted free agents. 

The Ravens could help fill the void by signing Steelers nose tackle and pending free agent Javon Ward, according to a report by Pro Football Focus. PFF predicts Hargrave will ink a four-year, $48 million deal ($28 million guaranteed) with Baltimore.  

"The Ravens' interior defensive line last season was among the bottom five in PFF pass-rush grade, and that might just be the position they target in March," Anthony Treash writes. "The Steelers don’t have the money to pay Javon Hargrave, which is great news for their division rival. Hargrave finished the 2019 season as one of the 15 highest-graded pass-rushers at his position."

Hargrave, who was drafted by the Steelers in the third round (89th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft from South Carolina State, would provide a boost to the pass rush. He played in all 16 games, including 13 starts, for Pittsburgh last season, and finished with four sacks and set career highs with 60 tackles and seven tackles for loss.

The biggest question is whether the Ravens will be willing to spend big money for a defensive lineman. Baltimore signed defensive tackle Brandon Williams to five-year, $54 million contract in 2018, and that might preclude them from making another big investment.  

Hargrave is also represented by Drew Rosenhaus, who is one of the most hard-nosed negotiators. 

A more reasonable option for the Ravens could be to re-sign Ward, who was impressive after he was signed as a free agent in October. He finished with seven tackles, including a sack, and two fumble recoveries in 11 games.

"This guy is a great fit in our defense." Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said about Ward. "We liked him coming out of the draft. I remember our scouts liked him and our coaches liked him. I liked him. And then all of a sudden from a turn of events, he's sitting there staring you in the face, and then you're like, ‘Well, is he going to work for us?’ Man, he came up aces.”