The Eagles let Jernigan hit free agency at the start of the offseason, unwilling to pay the defensive tackle an $11 million base salary in 2019 following a season in which he was limited to three games by a back injury. However, it seems the two sides were able to reach agreement on a more team-friendly deal and now Jernigan is back in the fold for another year before getting another chance to try his hand in free agency again next season. While it seems likely that Malik Jackson and Fletcher Cox (foot) get most of the reps at defensive tackle in 2019, Jernigan nonetheless has the potential to serve as a valuable piece of an Eagles defensive line that otherwise includes Brandon Graham, Chris Long and Vinny Curry.
With Philadelphia unwilling to pay Jernigan's $11 million base salary for 2019, the 26-year-old is set to become a free agent March 13. Limited by a herniated disk in his back in 2018, Jernigan appeared in only five games (including two playoff contests) with the Eagles. Across three regular season games, Jernigan logged just two tackles. Despite coming off a down year, Jernigan will hit free agency as one of the top defensive tackles on the market and should have no difficulty landing a starting role elsewhere in the league.
Limited by a herniated disc in his back, Jernigan made just five appearances (including two during the playoffs) in the first season of his four-year, $48 million extension. While the deal appears cumbersome at first glance, the Eagles will only take $6 million in dead money on their books if they trade or release Jernigan before March 13, per overthecap.com. It's unclear if the 26-year-old would have any interest in discussing a pay cut, considering he'd be one of the top defensive tackles on the market if he reached free agency. While not quite dominant as an interior pass rusher, Jernigan did average 30.5 tackles, 10.8 quarterback hits and 3.9 sacks over 14.5 games through his first four NFL seasons.
Jernigan tallied two tackles over three games in 2018.
Surgery to correct a herniated disc in his back delayed Jernigan's 2018 debut, and he wasn't a huge factor on defense until the playoffs, when Jernigan outproduced his regular-season numbers by 12 defensive snaps, one tackle, and one sack in one less game. While the 2014 second-rounder remains under contract with the Eagles through 2021, Jernigan is set to cost $13 million against the cap in 2019, making it likely his days in Philly are over.
Jernigan (back) will play in Sunday's game versus the Texans, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.
Jernigan will suit up for the second game this year and the first time since Week 12. Last time he slotted in, Jernigan logged just 20 defensive snaps and didn't have a tackle. For fantasy owners who kept hope this long, there's plenty of safer IDP options elsewhere.
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