Eagles Decline Option on Tim Jernigan
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - It's no surprise that the Eagles have decided not to pick up their pricey option on defensive tackle Tim Jernigan.
The bigger story is that Philadelphia did not work out a restructure with the Florida State product after an essentially lost season due to herniated-disc surgery.
Jernigan, 26, was slated to make $11 million in 2019 had Philadelphia picked up the option and count $13M against the salary cap, untenable figures. By releasing him the Eagles will save $7M against the cap but incur $6M in dead money. Jernigan, meanwhile, will be a free agent on March 13.
Believed to be a key part of the team's future after agreeing to a four-year, $48M extension late in the 2017 season a back injury last May changed all that for Jernigan and the Eagles worked out a plan to pay Jernigan while rehabbing in exchange for getting out of a significant portion of the original guaranteed money, essentially turning the final three years of the original extension into option years.
Neither Jernigan or the organization ever specified how the injury occurred but when Jernigan finally did return to practice in November he did admit there was fear his career was over.
Jernigan ended up playing in just three regular-season games but did show a little life in the playoffs, notching a sack and a tackle for loss over the two games.
The Eagles dropped back 25 spots in the third round of the 2017 draft to acquire Jernigan from Baltimore and he finished with 2 1/2 and nine tackles for losses in the Super Bowl LII-winning season where he was the team's top defensive tackle option opposite All-Pro Fletcher Cox. Last season Philadelphia struggled to replace Jernigan with a host of players, including veteran Haloti Ngata and youngsters Bruce Hector and Treyvon Hester.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen