Timmy Jernigan Reacts To Trade: 'I Was Mind Blown'
Many in Baltimore were shocked when the Ravens traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, including Timmy Jernigan.
"I was mind blown. [That's] the dead-honest answer," he told Philadelphia reporters at his introductory press conference Friday.
"I was sleeping, woke up and looked at my phone and was like, 'What?' You know, it surprised me, but at the end of the day, I think it's going to work in my favor. I'm an Eagle now. And I think that it's going to work out fine for Baltimore too. I wish them well."
Jernigan wasn't naive to the fact that Baltimore had just made teammate Brandon Williams one of the richest defensive linemen in the league. He knew that contract would likely spell the end to his Baltimore career; he just didn't think it wouldn't happen so quickly.
"I knew that after next year I would probably be gone, but I wasn't thinking a couple months or a couple weeks and I would be out of there, but it's part of it," Jernigan said. "I'm an Eagle now. This green and black are the only things on my mind. It's all I care about. I've got to do whatever I've got to do to help take this defense to the next level and help us win football games. That's the only thing that's important."
As part of the trade, the Ravens and Eagles swapped third-round picks in April's draft, allowing Baltimore to move up 25 spots. General Manager Ozzie Newsome said he feels he got the appropriate value out of the trade. Here are the pros and cons of the move.
After the initial shock wore off, the Ravens' 2014 second-round draft pick realized he has a big opportunity in front of him.
With Jernigan's interior pass-rush calling card, he feels he's now in a scheme that could better help him take advantage of his ability to get after the quarterback. The Eagles defensive line plays an attacking one-gap system, which is different from the Ravens' two-gap system up front.
Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz's vision for Jerngian's role has the 24 year old excited for what the future could bring.
"He told me it's going to be a big year for me," Jernigan said. "He has plans for me. We'll see, man.
"[Sacks are] kind of the main thing for any defensive lineman. Everybody wants sacks. It's hard to get them. It's hard. I've never even played in a system like this where they really want you to attack all the time. Everywhere that I've played, they've always kind of taught you to keep the linebackers free, keep the linemen off the linebackers. This is my first time being told, 'go.'"
Jernigan led Baltimore's defensive line last year with five sacks, but his production steeply trailed off after notching three sacks in the first three games. He had just one sack in the final nine games, and his snaps decreased as younger defensive linemen got more playing time.
He was asked what the cause was for his decrease in production, and he mentioned a minor injury.
"I don't really know what the case was," he said. "But I know part of it was I had a little stinger in my shoulder around the time we played the [Dallas] Cowboys [in Week 11]. So that nagged me a couple weeks. And then from there I couldn't really have a great explanation as to what happened."
Regardless, Jernigan is looking forward to this season and hopes to have his best yet. It's a contract year, and if he plays well in Philadelphia, he could reap the benefits in free agency next March.
"I haven't even thought that far," Jernigan said. "I understand the situation. Right now, my mind is on football and winning football games. The money part, that stuff will figure itself out."
How Much Money Did Ravens Save By Cutting And Re-Signing Lardarius Webb? He Holds A 'Special Place' In Franchise
We're still waiting on the final details of the reported three-year contract the Ravens struck with defensive back Lardarius Webb. Actually, we're still waiting for the team to officially confirm the deal, which may be part of the reason why we don't have details yet.
Prior to his release from the team about four weeks ago, Webb's scheduled cap hit for next year alone was $7.5 million, the seventh-most on the team entering free agency and ninth-highest among all NFL safeties, so the savings look to be significant.
"His release was more a result of his age and salary cap number than his performance last year," Zrebiec wrote.
According to Zrebiec, Webb garnered interest from a few other teams while on the free-agent market for the past month, but he didn't like any of the proposed deals. He was awaiting better opportunities when the Ravens reached out last week to strike up negotiations.
Webb has spoken in the past about wanting to retire a Raven after being drafted by them in the third round out of Nicholls State eight years ago. He said in January that he's a "Raven for life." He also has strong ties and charitable causes in the community, including his annual charity softball game.
The Ravens drafted Webb in 2009, and the newly reported contract could keep him in Baltimore through 11 years of his career.
"Webb won't be inducted to the Hall of Fame like Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis or Ed Reed. He won't go in the Ravens' Ring of Honor like Peter Boulware, Todd Heap or Jamal Lewis," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
"But Webb does hold a special place in this franchise, as a player who did everything he could to be a part of it. That's why it's fitting that he returns to get a chance to finish out his career in Baltimore and officially be a Raven for life."
Could Ravens Make More Roster Cuts?
It seems every addition the Ravens have made this offseason has been preceded by just enough salary-cap-saving moves to create space to bring in each player.
That trend will likely continue, seeing as Baltimore still doesn't have much money to spend under the cap, but will need to add more than 20 players via the draft and free agency to fill out their 90-man roster.
"[T]he Ravens have places to go to get space when they need it," Zrebiec wrote. "They could rescind the $1.79 million original-round restricted free agent tenders to offensive linemen James Hurst or Ryan Jensen and re-sign them to deals with lesser salary cap numbers, like the Ravens did Thursday with wide receiver Michael Campanaro.
"It's still expected that the Ravens move on at some point from cornerback Kyle Arrington, who carries a $2.8 million salary cap hit. The preference would be to wait until Arrington passes a physical. And then there's veteran tight end Benjamin Watson, who has a $4 million cap number. The Ravens would like to keep Watson, but they could choose otherwise for the sake of creating salary cap room."
When Should Baltimore Start Thinking About Joe Flacco's Heir?
In Pittsburgh, the Steelers are giving special consideration to their future franchise quarterback, especially since Ben Roethlisberger has already mentioned retirement, by scouting draft-eligible signal callers in this year's draft.
Meanwhile in Baltimore, the Ravens are laser-focused on building a team around their franchise quarterback, Joe Flacco, who they signed to a new six-year deal last offseason that will keep him in Baltimore through 2021.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked when the right time is to look for an heir apparent at that position.
"I haven't thought about it," Harbaugh said at the owners' meetings. "Our quarterback is going to be our quarterback for a long time. He's not there yet."
The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck says it makes "perfect sense" to build around Flacco right now, but adds the time isn't far off to start thinking about his heir.
"The time is drawing near for the Ravens to begin grooming a replacement for the 32-year-old Flacco — in a perfect world, creating an Aaron Rodgers/Brett Favre situation that would make the team less vulnerable to a season-endangering injury as Flacco advances in age," he wrote.
"Of course, there might be more of a sense of urgency if the organization was not satisfied that Flacco is fully healthy and ready to guide the team back to the playoffs next season. The team is pretty much all in on him contractually for at least the next two or three years and veteran backup Ryan Mallett signed a one-year contract in March. If there is a case to be made for moving on [to] a young quarterback more quickly, it is that the supply-and-demand equation might soon become problematic."