With defensive tackle Tim Jernigan’s availability for the start of the season up in the air after herniated disc surgery, the Eagles have reportedly restructured Jernigan’s contract, converting his $11 million guaranteed 2019 base salary into non-guaranteed money.

Field Yates of ESPN reported the contract restructure Thursday after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported it is now believed Jernigan could miss up to four to six months, which would jeopardize his availability for opening day — which is now about four months out.

The only real result of the restructure is that the Eagles took the $11 million in 2019 base salary that was due to become guaranteed and un-guaranteed it before a previously agreed upon deadline of this past March 18.

So the Eagles could release Jernigan before 2019 and be off the hook for the $11 million, although they would still absorb $6 million in dead money.  

Why would Jernigan agree to a deal in which his entire 2019 salary becomes non-guaranteed? Most likely, because the only alternative was getting cut.

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Jernigan’s 2020 and 2021 base salaries of $12 million aren’t affected by the contract restructure because they weren’t guaranteed to begin with. His $3 million base salary for 2018 remains guaranteed.

Jernigan signed a four-year, $48 million contract before last season, and he played very well before suffering a mid-season ankle injury against the Broncos.


The Eagles are clearly worried about Jernigan’s injury history, but he is such a talented player they want him in the mix on their defensive line.

Jernigan has already earned over $11 million from the Eagles, including a $10 million signing bonus and just over $1 million in 2017 base salary.

The Eagles do have some depth at defensive tackle, with All-Pro Fletcher Cox, offseason veteran free agent addition Haloti Ngata and youngsters Destiny Vaeao and Elijah Qualls, who both got some playing time last year. Vaeao played 231 snaps on defense and Qualls 104 (see their options here).

ESPN reported that Jernigan got hurt during an offseason workout.