Tim Jernigan seems to be upset. The Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackled posted the following images on his Instagram story on Friday:
Tim Jernigan shared the following messages on his Instagram story this afternoon... pic.twitter.com/hBkUXZKGud— Eagles Nation (@PHLEaglesNation) May 10, 2019
Jernigan seems to be referencing Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith, who recently announced he’s stepping away from football for the 2019 NFL season. Is Jernigan suggesting he’s also going to take some time off?
That’d be a weird move considering Jernigan just signed a one-year contract with the Eagles back in late April. He didn’t have to re-sign if he didn’t want to play this year. Maybe he changed his mind?
It’s not hard to understand why Jernigan is frustrated. The 26-year-old originally signed a four-year, $48 million contract worth $26 million guaranteed back during the 2017 season. That deal cemented him as one of the better interior defenders in the league. He then helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl in franchise history. It was hard to get much better than that.
But then things quickly spiraled. Jernigan suffered a career-threatening injury last year that ultimately limited him to playing just 45 snaps during the 2018 season. The Eagles declined Jernigan’s 2019 option, making him a free agent. He received very little (if any) interest on the open market before signing a one-year deal, $1.25 million deal with the Eagles worth merely $1 million guaranteed. Jernigan also no longer projects to be a starter with Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson clearly ahead of him on the depth chart.
Jernigan’s frustration is understandable. The timing of his posts is a bit odd, though, considering it’s been over two weeks since he officially re-signed. He’s been attending the Eagles’ voluntary offseason workout program in the meantime. I saw one of his teammates post a recent video of him dancing in the locker room (unfortunately can’t find it).
Assuming he still wants to pursue a football career, Jernigan’s best bet is to make the most of an unideal situation in 2019. Go out and have a good year before testing the market next offseason.
We’ll soon see if Jernigan cares to elaborate on these Instagram posts. Jernigan often made a habit of avoiding reporters in 2018 but he might be available to media after the team’s first OTA practice takes place later this month on Tuesday, May 21.
UPDATE: Jernigan posted a follow up comment, via r/Eagles: