The Denver Broncos have been hit hard by the injury bug but arguably, the position group hit hardest has been the defensive line. Last week, the Broncos lost backups Dre'Mont Jones and DeMarcus Walker to injured reserve.
Coming out of Week 3's 28-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Broncos lost a starter on the D-line. Five-time Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey suffered a bicep tear and is done for the year. Although the Broncos will get Jones and Walker back toward the end of the second quarter of the season, Casey is completely off the board.
The Broncos are compensating by adding a free agent off the street. According to 9NEWS' Mike Klis, the Broncos are signing Timmy Jernigan.
"Broncos are signing veteran DL Timmy Jernigan per source. Played 3 games for Jax this year, recently released so he should be ready to go," Klis tweeted Wednesday morning.
Jernigan is a 6-foot-2, 295-pound trenchman who originally entered the league as a Baltimore Ravens second-round draft pick back in 2014. After playing his first three years in Baltimore, the Ravens traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 where he would go on to sign a lucrative four-year, $48 million extension.
Jernigan had a solid first year in Philly but missed most of 2018 after undergoing back surgery in the offseason. Following the 2019 campaign, the Eagles declined the option on his contract, making him a free agent.
In August, Jernigan signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and appeared in the last three regular-season games, though he wasn't very productive. After playing on Thursday Night Football as a Jaguar last week, there's a realistic shot Jernigan will have a back-to-back appearance with a new team.
In his seventh NFL season, Jernigan has amassed 133 tackles (70 solo) with 17.5 career sacks, 29 tackles for a loss, and 48 QB hits. He's a solid veteran addition for the Broncos, though it will take him some time to get up to speed.
Meanwhile, DeShawn Williams was signed to the active roster last week and he made a modest contribution in Week 3. Rookie third-rounder McTelvin Agim will be called on to do more, with Shelby Harris and Mike Purcell leading the way as the starters.
Next up are the New York Jets. The Broncos get a short-week turnaround and will travel to New Jersey for Thursday night's 0-3 bout. Jernigan has already passed through the mandated COVID-19 testing so if head coach Vic Fangio feels confident in him, the new D-lineman could play on Thursday.
Don't be surprised to see the Broncos sign at least one more defensive lineman in the coming days. Barring that, expect practice-squadder Deyon Sizer to be elevated to the active roster on gameday.