Every Tuesday a different member of the Purple Reign staff will be asked to write a molten fire hot take article regarding the Ravens. Some you will agree with more than other obviously but we ask that you read these with an open mind and please try not to get any second degree burns on your retina reading these scalding hot takes.
The Ravens are famous for grooming defensive talents only to have them leave Baltimore for lucrative deals once their rookie contracts expire. To avoid that, they should re-sign defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan sooner rather than later.
Jernigan was expected to have a breakout year in 2015, but he fell shy of expectations. The second round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft finished the season with 37 tackles and four sacks, but he only started six games. One of the biggest criticisms of the six-foot-two, 265-pound defender was that he often took plays off and did not have a high motor. However, through the first three games of 2016, Jernigan looks like a new player.
Thus far, Jernigan has started all three games, and he has recorded 10 tackles and a team-high three sacks. Perhaps even more impressive are his two passes defensed, including a tipped pass which led to a key interception against Jacksonville. Despite taking on three blockers on the play, Jernigan was able to get a hand in the air for the deflection. It truly looks like he is putting out 100% effort on every play, and many of the incredible things he is doing will not show on the stat sheet. Regardless, if he keeps this up, Jernigan should be elected to his first Pro Bowl this year.
With all that said, now is the time to lock Jernigan into a long-term deal. While he is not set to become a free agent until 2018, there is a good chance he will leave Baltimore if Ozzie Newsome waits till then to extend a new contract offer. Jernigan is peaking, and he works so well in tandem with Brandon Williams that the Ravens want to keep both players for the foreseeable future. Considering the fact that Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are nearing the end of their careers, it is crucial for the Ravens to keep these young veterans on the roster to avoid another rebuild in two-to-three years. At this point, Jernigan will command less money, and the Ravens could ink him for an extra few years to ease their minds. I am no cap guru, personally, but Ozzie Newsome can certainly find a way to make things happen.