It's a possibility according to Mike Lombardi, a former NFL personnel executive who worked with Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome in Cleveland. On "The Ringer NFL Show," Lombardi said he hears the Ravens are "talking about moving Jernigan."
"I think Jernigan is a fabulous player, but they can’t afford to sign him," Lombardi said.
All signs point to this being Jernigan's last season with the Ravens. It's prohibitive for the Ravens to re-sign Jernigan after making Brandon Williams the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL. Baltimore probably wouldn't want to invest another big-money contract on the interior of its defensive line, especially with promising second-year player Michael Pierce and two recent draft picks (Carl Davis and Willie Henry) vying for more playing time.
It's just unlikely for this trade to occur. It would be surprising for a team to offer anything higher than a fifth-round pick after a recent report indicated no team is willing to give more than a fourth-round pick for the Jets' Sheldon Richardson, a former first-round pick and Pro Bowl defensive end. For the Ravens, it makes no sense to part ways with Jernigan for anything less than a fourth-round pick because they can get a fifth- or sixth-round compensatory pick for him once he signs elsewhere after the upcoming season.
What's also working against a trade is that Baltimore figures to get the best season out of Jernigan. His play in 2017 will dictate how much money he'll receive in free agency, and he only has to look at how two former teammates, offensive tackle Rick Wagner and fullback Kyle Juszczyk, cashed in this offseason.
A second-round pick in 2014, Jernigan has shown flashes of being a difference-maker. He's just been too inconsistent and makes costly mistakes that frustrate the Ravens. In 2015, Jernigan's roughing the passer penalty in Oakland was the biggest play in the Raiders' last-minute winning drive. Last season, Jernigan made a huge play by recovering a fumble at the Jets, but he decided to run with the ball and lost it himself. Three plays later, the Jets took advantage of Jernigan's mistake and scored a touchdown.
Next offseason, the Ravens' priority on defense will be extending Pro Bowl inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. The Ravens likely know another team will be willing to spend more on Jernigan than them, and they can build the middle of their defensive line around Williams and Pierce.
That's why trading Jernigan now would be a very Patriots-like move. But barring a deal that the Ravens can't refuse, the smart way to play it is to hold onto Jernigan, get the best out him in a contract year and wait for that compensatory pick in 2019.