Failing to see their team have a winning season 3 of the last 4 years is a good reason for Ravens fans to be upset; trading a decent but too often ordinary player is not. Ozzie Newsome traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the Eagles this week and some fans made it sound like Ray Lewis or Ed Reed got shipped out of town in their prime.
The return for Jernigan was modest, the Ravens and Eagles swapped third round draft picks, the net result Baltimore moves up 25 spots in the round. No knock on Jernigan, the second round pick in the 2014 draft was a contributor in his three years in Baltimore. Last season he got off to a fast start with 5 sacks in the Ravens first 9 games, but down the stretch he pretty much disappeared with only 5 tackles and zero sacks in the last 7 games.
Jernigan has some wow factor that you don’t always see from an inside player, he can explode into the backfield and make big plays but his weakness is at the point of attack where offensive linemen often get the best of him and then there are those head-scratching 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that happened way too often.
The trade could be good for Jernigan’s game; he might be a better fit for the 4-3 defense that Eagles coordinator Jim Schwartz runs. The trade makes sense for Baltimore for a couple of reasons, most important Jernigan would have been an unrestricted free agent following the 2017 season and the Ravens decided he wasn’t going to be part of their future.
With Brandon Williams recently signed to a lucrative long-term deal why keep Jernigan around for a lame-duck season when several young players look like they’re ready to contribute. Michael Pierce was 340 pounds of impressive as a rookie, last year’s third round pick Bronson Kaufusi deserves a look and Brent Urban, Carl Davis and Willie Henry are all contenders for snaps plus more beef could be added in the draft and free agency.
It’s alright to worry about the Ravens pass rush, Zach Orr’s replacement at inside-linebacker, the lack of play-makers on offense and those two holes that need patching on the offensive line, but please don’t lose any sleep over Timmy Jernigan heading North on I-95.