In a bit of a surprise move, the Eagles signed defensive tackle Tim Jernigan to a one-year deal Thursday.

This comes seven weeks after the team declined to pick up the option on the four-year, $48 million extension Jernigan signed with the team in 2017, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Jernigan’s previous deal included an $11 million base salary this season. He would’ve counted $13 million against the team’s cap. His one-year deal obviously will pay him substantially less.

The Eagles acquired Jernigan in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens in April 2017. He was a key member of their Super Bowl team, teaming with Fletcher Cox to give the Eagles one of the league’s better tackle tandems.

He had back surgery the next offseason, however, which sidelined him for most of the 2018 campaign. He played in just three regular-season games and played a total of 100 snaps in those three games and the Eagles’ two playoff games.

Shortly after declining to pick up Jernigan’s option, the Eagles signed former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson to a three-year, $30 million deal.

It will be interesting to see what impact the re-signing of Jernigan has on the Eagles’ draft strategy. They were expected to look hard at the deep defensive-tackle crop in the draft, possibly as early as Thursday night’s first round.

The Eagles have the 25th overall pick in the first round.

Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons.
Rogelio V. Solis / AP File
Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons.

One player to keep an eye on now that they’ve re-signed Jernigan is Mississippi State defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons. Simmons was considered a potential top-10 pick until he tore his ACL in predraft training in February.

He probably isn’t going to play much, if at all, his rookie season. But bringing back Jernigan on a one-year deal affords the Eagles the luxury of drafting Simmons and redshirting him, much like they did two years ago with cornerback Sidney Jones, who ruptured his Achilles tendon before the draft.