The Eagles' safety dance began about an hour into free agency today when ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Birds had signed free agent safety Malcolm Jenkins for three years and $16.25 million.
Jenkins, 26, was drafted 14th overall by the Saints in 2009 as a corner, started the move to safety in 2010. He is considered athletic and versatile. A source close to the situation said the Birds guaranteed $8.5 million of Jenkins' money, $5 million as a signing bonus.
Jenkins, 6-0, 204, was considered a hard worker in New Orleans, where he served as a captain the past two seasons. The biggest rap on him there is that he raised expectations for a breakthrough, Pro Bowl-type year that he never quite delivered.
Earlier, the Eagles took care of two anticipated items on its to-do list -- the re-signing of punter Donnie Jones and the jettisoning of safety Patrick Chung.
Jones, who turns 34 in July, led the NFL last season with 27 punts that weren't returned. His 40.3-yard net was a franchise record, as were his 33 punts downed inside the 20. The team would have signed him sooner, but because he played under a one-year deal for the veteran minimum last year, NFL rules didn't allow him to sign anything more than that type deal again until the new league year started, today. Jones' new contract runs for three years and is worth up to $6 million, a source close to the situation said.
Chung, 26, might have been the Eagles' biggest free agent miscalculation last offseason. Brought in to stabilize a problem position, he struggled with injuries and repeatedly made bad reads.Chung was scheduled to make $3.25 million this coming season. The cap charge for releasing him is $1 million, so the Birds gain $2.25 million in cap room, which should push them over the $25 million mark in available space.
There were reports about Eagles involvement with corner Darrelle Revis, whom the Bucs are trying to trade, and Buffalo free agent safety Jairus Byrd, but nothing authoritative. The Bears signed edge rusher Lamarr Houston from the Raiders, who might haver been an attractive target.
The Cowboys released 32-year-old Demarcus Ware, who doesn't really fit the profile of what the Eagles are trying to do, but can still play. And obviously, adding Ware to the Eagles would make those Dallas games extra special.
Expect more to come at safety. Right now the Eagles have Jenkins, Earl Wolff and Keelan Johnson. They'll need a few more of those fellas.