This time, 49ers' aggressive free-agent move is to beef up D-line


With so many others who rank among the top-paid players at their positions, the 49ers were not expected to be a big factor at the outset of NFL free agency.

But just as they did a year ago, the 49ers identified a free agent at a position of need and did not mess around.

The 49ers raided the roster of the NFC's top team Monday, striking a verbal agreement with Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave on a reported four-year, $84 million contract.

Hargrave’s reaction on social media: “Yesss sirr.”

A year ago, the 49ers saved their big free-agent splash for cornerback Charvarius Ward, whom they signed to a three-year, $40.5 million contract.

Again, the 49ers spent big on their defense. This time, the focus was up front.

Hargrave's presence gives the 49ers a legitimate inside pass-rush threat to go along with Nick Bosa, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, on the outside.

Hargrave, a seven-year NFL veteran, registered a career-best 11 sacks in 17 regular-season games in 2022. Bosa led the 49ers with 18.5 sacks. Edge rusher Samson Ebukam was No. 2 on the team with 5.0 sacks.

As the NFL’s open-negotiating period began on Monday, the 49ers have a long list of unsigned defensive linemen. The list includes unrestricted free agents Ebukam, Charles Omenihu, Jordan Willis, Kerry Hyder, Hassan Ridgeway and T.Y. McGill, and restricted free agent Kevin Givens.

Hargrave figures to be a big piece of the puzzle, as the 49ers continue their quest to add a sixth Lombardi Trophy to the foyer at team headquarters.

General manager John Lynch reached the deal -- which cannot be made official until Wednesday -- to add Hargrave to an already star-studded roster that includes Trent Williams, Arik Armstead, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Fred Warner and Charvarius Ward.

The 49ers will attempt to reach a contract extension this offseason with Bosa, who figures to become the highest-paid player on the team.

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Hargrave is set to join Armstead and Javon Kinlaw along the interior of the 49ers' defensive line. Armstead has two years remaining on a contract that ranks behind only Williams for the largest cap figure on the team.

Kinlaw battled knee issues during his three NFL seasons after being chosen to replace DeForest Buckner. Kinlaw was limited to just 10 appearances over the past two regular seasons.

The 49ers are not expected to pick up Kinlaw’s fifth-year option for the 2024 season. Kinlaw’s upcoming season figures to be the end of the line with the team that selected him No. 14 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.

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