Should Chicago Bears have had eyes on Javon Hargrave in free agency all along?

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears are very likely to miss out on Daron Payne in free agency. The Washington Commanders are expected to apply the franchise tag to Payne, and unless the team trades for him, they are out on him.

Still, while all eyes were on Payne because he was a former first-round pick from Alabama, the real prize in free agency may be Javon Hargrave. Hargrave was a third-round pick from South Carolina State so he does not get the same admiration from fans.

Should the Chicago Bears sign Javon Hargrave in free agency?

Hargrave will also be 31 next season while Payne will be 26. He has two more years of experience, but overall, Hargrave has been more productive.

Last season Javon Hargrave recorded 66 pressures, and 36 run stops. For comparison, Daron Payne had 49 pressures and 45 run stops. He is a slightly better run defender, but Hargrave had 17 more pressures.

Overall, Hargrave averages 40.4 pressures per season, and 26.1 run stops per season, going back to his days with Pittsburgh when he was a backup. On the flip side, Daron Payne has averaged 36.6 pressures, and 37.4 run stops per season.

So, we can all agree that Payne is a better run defender. He is also younger, and that helps. Still, the better pass rusher is definitely Hargrave. Hargrave broke out even more recently with the Philadephia Eagles and is playing his best football right now.

He was one of the best linemen on their run to the Super Bowl. The Eagles will try to re-sign him, but they have no intentions of applying the franchise tag. They also have a slew of free agents to discuss, and he is just one of them.

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It makes sense why fans would be excited about Daron Payne, but Javon Hargrave would be one heck of a consolation prize. He may end up having as much, if not more of an impact on the team that signs him.