NFL Free Agency Day 1: South Carolina State’s Javon Hargrave becomes the NFL’s highest paid nose tackle

Written by Thomas Scott

In an emotional Instagram post, the man they call “Grave Digger” said goodbye to his favorite team and first NFL home.

Javon Hargrave’s Official Instagram Account

Javon Hargrave aka Grave Digger was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Pitsburgh Steelers. Hargrave quickly became an anchor on Pittsburgh’s defensive line. Since being drafted in 2016, Hargrave has only missed one game. By the end of his four year tenure with the Steelers, Hargrave racked up 168 tackles, 14.5 sacks, and 22 quarterback hits.

Photo via Getty Images

Last season was arguably Hargrave’s best indiviual year in his entire career. According to Pro Football Focus, Hargrave recorded 43 quarterback hurries. He led all NFL interior lineman who played at least 250 snaps in quarterback hurries. Hargrave’s unique blend of run defense and ability to sack the quarterback from the nose tackle position made him a highly sought after free agent.

According to ESPN’s Adam Scheter, Hargrave signed a three-year contract worth $39 million dollars ( $26 million guaranteed) with the Philadelphia Eagles. The deal will make him the highest paid nose tackle in the NFL.

Javon Hargrave’s journey from South Carolina State to the NFL’s highest paid nose tackles should serve as inspiration for all current and prospective HBCU athletes. He is one of the many recent examples of a player from a HBCU that was not only drafted, but succeeded in the NFL. We hope his sustained success continues to open up door for himself and others.