Texans sign former Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan to their defensive line, per report

The Houston Texans allowed arguably their top 2020 free agent in D.J. Reader to sign elsewhere this offseason, but two weeks after the market officially opened, they’ve added a relatively prominent name at the same position. As first reported by the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, the team has signed former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Tim Jernigan. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Jernigan’s deal is for one year and worth up to $3.75 million, with $1.25 million guaranteed.

Reader, 25, cashed in on a four-year, $53 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals early in free agency, leaving a hole along the Texans’ defensive line. And while Jernigan seems more likely to fill a 3-4 defensive end spot than Reader’s nose tackle job, he played both inside and outside during his three seasons with the Eagles. The 27-year-old former second-round draft pick also opened his NFL career playing in the Baltimore Ravens’ 3-4 scheme.

A former Florida State standout, Jernigan totaled 13 sacks over his first three seasons in Baltimore, serving as a rotational 3-4 DE until becoming a full-time starter in 2016. Traded to Philadelphia ahead of his contract year as part of a swap of mid-round picks, he converted to DT and started 15 games alongside Fletcher Cox in Jim Schwartz’s Super Bowl-winning defense of 2017, parlaying a hot start into a four-year, $48 million extension.

Injuries, however, have limited Jernigan’s production in recent years. A herniated disk kept him sidelined for all but three games in 2018, and after a brief stint in free agency, he returned to the Eagles for 2019, starting nine games and notching two sacks in between rehabilitation for a broken foot.

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