With Tim Jernigan deal, Eagles investing big in unheralded position

From ESPN - November 9, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles ensured that the power interior line combination of Tim Jernigan and Fletcher Cox will remain intact by signing Jernigan to a four-year extension Thursday that runs through 2021. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the deal is worth $48 million and includes $26 million fully guaranteed.

That's good news for an Eagles defense that has been powered largely by the play of the defensive line. Jernigan, a 25-year-old Florida State product, adapted almost instantly to defensive coordinator Jim Schwartzs attack scheme after being acquired from the Baltimore Ravens in the offseason. He has a team-high eight tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and five hurries.

You would be hard-pressed to find a better defensive tackle tandem in the NFL. But the Eagles are paying a big price for it.They signed Cox to a six-year deal worth over $100 million in 2016 with over $36 million fully guaranteed. After the Jernigan signing, they have more than $62 million in guaranteed money committed to two players along the interior.

On one hand, it makes sense to pay your best players regardless of position. And it is absolutely true that Schwartz's scheme is predicated on the defensive front being a disruptive force without the assistance of extra pass-rushers. To that end, they are investing in an area that both the organization and the defensive coordinator put a lot of value in.


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