Steelers should prioritize Javon Hargrave extension over Joe Haden

The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly entering contract negotiations with cornerback Joe Haden. Here’s why Hargrave’s deal should get done first.

The Steelers have recently been in contract negations with cornerback, Joe Haden. According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, both sides are making progress towards a two-year extension that could potentially lock up Haden for the remainder of his career.

Though signing Haden would be a great thing for the Steelers, there are other players who need to get a deal done. Javon Hargrave is one of them.

Hargrave turned 26 years old this offseason, and is coming off a breakout year in which he tallied 6.5 sacks and 8 quarterback hits.

Hargrave also made great strides throughout the season. According to Pro Football Focus, he was one of the three most improved Steelers on the team – increasing his overall grade from at 69.1 in weeks 1-9 to an 86.2 from week 10 on.

The Steelers had just over $1M in cap space before restructuring Stephon Tuitt. However, even after reworking his contract, Pittsburgh is projected to have just $7.7M in cap space next season.

Hargrave, Mike Hilton, and B.J. Finney are some of the players who are still looking for deals in addition to Joe Haden. There is also a chance Bud Dupree could do enough for the Steelers to throw money in his direction. Pittsburgh is unlikely able to sign all of these players, but should Hargrave’s extension come first?

Javon Hargrave is four years younger than Joe Haden. He is entering the prime of his football career, while Haden is exiting his. Hargrave might be the best pure pass rusher on the Steelers defensive line, and he finally began to put all the pieces together in 2018.

Locking up Hargrave would mean keeping the Steelers defensive line together for the foreseeable future.

Joe Haden deserves a lot of credit for his services to the team. However, it stands to reason that we could see a decline in play, as a new extension would take him deeper into his 30’s. He may not be worth the high price tag he would demand for a cornerback who ranked as the 37th best in the league last season.

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If the Steelers can find a way to extend both players in this Super Bowl window with Ben Roethlisberger, then they should make that happen. But if there is only enough money for one of these players to stick around, perhaps it should be Hargrave.