Donnie Jones thought he had earned another year with the Houston Texans, but when that didn't seem to be working out, Jones was happy to sign on with the Eagles, who announced him Monday as their new punter.
The Eagles released Mat McBriar, the former Cowboys Pro Bowler who beat out Chas Henry last season, but never seemed to come all the way back to the form he showed before a nerve problem caused by a cyst derailed his career.
Jones, 32, is a nine-year vet who was an All-Pro choice twice, with the Rams in 2008 and 2009. He also has punted for the Dolphins and Seahawks. Last season, he was signed because Texans punter Brett Hartmann had to serve a three-game illegal substance suspension, but Jones ended up winning the job outright. He finished the year with a 47.2-yard gross and a 40.5-yard net, with 28 punts downed inside the 20. McBriar had a 46.5-yard gross but a 36.5-yard net, in part a reflection of the Eagles' poor coverage. He dropped 13 punts inside the 20.
"They had told us really numerous times throughout the offseason they wanted to re-sign me," Jones told a conference call with Philadelphia reporters Monday. "I know I was told that in the exit meeting, when I met with the GM (Rick Smith). They were real happy with the year I had, definitely wanted to bring me back ... in the end, it didn't work out. (Agent Drew Rosenhaus) had talked to Howie Roseman at the owners' meetings (last week), and we were able to get something worked out then.