Jernigan Returns to the Flock
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Things started a little early in Philadelphia as Howie Roseman began the draft process with a bit of a curveball.
The Eagles re-signed veteran free agent defensive tackle Tim Jernigan to a one-year deal hours before the 2019 draft was set to begin. A former starter during the 2017 Super Bowl season, Jernigan is coming off an injury-plagued campaign in which his very career was threatened after a herniated disc injury required surgery.
Ultimately Jernigan played in only three regular-season games and 46 snaps, a key setback for the interior of Jim Schwartz's defensive line which struggled to find a consistent complement to All-Pro Fletcher Cox.
Intent on alleviating the constant doubles teams Cox faced last season, the Eagles brought in Malik Jackson and the interior now figures to rely on a three-man rotation of Cox, Jackson and Jernigan with perhaps Treyvon Hester or Bruce Hector mixing in from there.
The question is what exactly is this Howie Roseman curve designed to do, shift the desire for No. 25 overall away from the defensive line and on to receiver Marquise Brown, perhaps the offensive line [Cody Ford] or even safety. Conversely, it could be subterfuge as well to shield a potential interest in DT Jeffery Simmons, the top-10 level talent set to fall a bit due to a torn ACL.
Whatever the plan is, a one-year sub-package player shouldn’t impact things at all. In fact, Jernigan may make it even easier to take a redshirt player like Simmons.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen