Jernigan recently underwent surgery for a herniated disc and is expected to miss spring workouts, NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.
Jernigan, 25, started off his 2017 season strong with the Eagles but seemed to tail off later in the year. By the end of the season, he was basically splitting reps with his backup, Beau Allen. We knew Jernigan dealt with an ankle injury during the season, but we didn’t know about the herniated disc. It seemed like Jernigan was playing at less than 100 percent.
Despite the injuries, Jernigan still had a pretty good season with the Eagles after coming over in an offseason trade. He had just 2½ sacks but had nine tackles for loss and 33 total tackles.
Thanks to his hot start, Jernigan was rewarded with a four-year, $49 million contract in November. This deal, which included $25 million guaranteed, can keep him in Philly through the 2021 season. Jernigan’s cap number in 2018 is relatively small at $5 million before jumping up to $13M, $14M and $14M in the following three years.
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Since Jernigan won’t be able to participate in the spring program, expect recent acquisitions Haloti Ngata and Michael Bennett to get some extra reps at DT next to Fletcher Cox. Third-year player Destiny Vaeao should also get some extra snaps.
This is a minor setback, but it should prevent him from being able to be ready in time for the start of the 2018 NFL season as that is still about four months away. That is plenty of time for him to be fully healthy to give it a go on the field to help his team defend their title.
What should be noted is that the Eagles have beefed up their defensive line even further this offseason with the addition of Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett via trade and inked veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to a deal in free agency. Each of them should help mask any potential issues if Jernigan were to be unable to give it a go to start the regular season.