Donnie Jones

Chargers Sign P Donnie Jones

The Chargers are changing punters, as the club has signed veteran Donnie Jones to replace Drew Kaser, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Jones, 38, originally announced his retirement from the Eagles in February, but later decided he wanted to continue his lengthy NFL career. Philadelphia then released him from the reserve/retired list, giving Jones the opportunity to find another team. Jones, who hadn’t garnered any other known free agent interest, was solid in 2017, ranking solid 15th in yards per punt average and 16th in net average. He also placed 35.1% of his punts inside of the 20-yard line.

As has become the norm in recent years, the Chargers’ special teams unit is among the league’s worst. Per Football Outsiders’ metrics, Los Angeles ranks 31st in overall special teams and dead last in punts. Kaser, who had been the Chargers’ punter since 2016, ranks 31st in net punting average. Because he’s not a vested veteran, Kaser will hit the waiver wire, but it seems unlikely he’ll be claimed given his struggles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Donnie Jones Wants To Continue Playing

The Eagles released punter Donnie Jones from the reserve/retired list on Wednesday for a reason. The veteran requested his release in order to continue his playing career, agent Ken Harris tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

A few weeks after the Eagles’ Super Bowl win, Jones announced that he would retire after 14 seasons in the NFL. The Eagles seem prepared to move forward with Cameron Johnston, so Jones will explore his opportunities elsewhere.

Jones, who will turn 38 in July, was solid in 2017 as he ranked 15th in yards per punt average and 16th in net average. He also placed 35.1% of his punts inside of the 20-yard line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Release Punter Donnie Jones From Reserve/Retired List

[UPDATE: Jones wants to continue his career.]

The Eagles have released punter Donnie Jones from the reserve/retired list, according to the NFL’s transactions wire. Jones decided to walk away from football following the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory, but it’s worth noting that he is technically a free agent if he decides to play again. 

After 14 seasons in the NFL, I have decided to retire so that I can spend more time with my family,” Jones said in a statement this winter. “I am grateful for all those who have supported me throughout the years. Specifically, I would like to thank Jeffrey LurieHowie RosemanDoug Pederson, and the entire Eagles organization for allowing me to be a part of their family for the past five seasons. I will truly miss my teammates, coaches, friends, and the best fans in the NFL. Although I am retiring, I will always be an Eagle and will forever have a special place in my heart for the City of Philadelphia. It is a great honor to be a part of the first Super Bowl championship team in Eagles history and there is no better way to finish my career.”

Jones moved around the league since being drafted by the Seahawks late in the 2004 draft, but he had a strong career overall. After two seasons with the Dolphins, five seasons with the Rams, and one year with the Texans, he hooked on with the Eagles in 2013 and found his place in the franchise’s record books over the course of five seasons. Jones stands as the Eagles’ all-time leader in gross punting average (45.37 yards) and net average (40.5). He also owns team records for most punts inside the 20 (138), most punts inside the 20 in a single season (34, 2014), and best net punting average in a season (41.6, 2015).

With Jones out of the picture, Cameron Johnston projects to be the Eagles’ punter in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles P Donnie Jones Retires

Donnie Jones is calling it a career. On Tuesday morning, the Eagles punter announced his retirement from the NFL. Donnie Jones (vertical)

After 14 seasons in the NFL, I have decided to retire so that I can spend more time with my family,” said Jones in a statement released by the team. “I am grateful for all those who have supported me throughout the years. Specifically, I would like to thank Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, and the entire Eagles organization for allowing me to be a part of their family for the past five seasons. I will truly miss my teammates, coaches, friends, and the best fans in the NFL. Although I am retiring, I will always be an Eagle and will forever have a special place in my heart for the City of Philadelphia. It is a great honor to be a part of the first Super Bowl championship team in Eagles history and there is no better way to finish my career.”

Jones first entered the league as a seventh-round pick of the Seahawks in 2014. After that, he spent two seasons with the Dolphins, five seasons with the Rams, and one year with the Texans before hooking on with the Eagles in 2013. He leaves the game not only as a world champion, but as a record holder in Philadelphia. He is the Eagles’ all-time leader in gross punting average (45.37 yards) and net average (40.5). He also owns franchise records for most career punts inside the 20 (138), most single-season punts inside the 20 (34, 2014), and best net punting average in a season (41.6, 2015).

Cameron Johnston, who signed a futures deal with the Eagles in January, may be a candidate to take over for Jones.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cowboys, 49ers, Eagles, Panthers

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones has made it clear on several occasions that the team would like to extend three-time Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin, who’s entering the penultimate year of his rookie contract. Jones addressed Martin’s contract situation again Tuesday, telling Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News: “We’re making our rounds there, it takes time, that’s usually how these things work. There’s a whole lot of zero progress and then all of a sudden you start to make some. And then you get to where you can get a deal done. It’s too early for me to speculate.” Jones added that while negotiations haven’t been easy, Martin wants to stay in Dallas and hasn’t set a deadline on contract talks.

More from the NFC:

  • Rookie 49ers linebacker Donavin Newsom left practice in an ambulance Tuesday after suffering what looked like a severe neck injury, causing head coach Kyle Shanahan to end practice early. But Newsom dodged a worst-case scenario, fortunately, as the 49ers announced (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area) that the undrafted rookie from Missouri didn’t suffer any cervical spine fractures. Doctors at Stanford Medical Center did diagnose Newsom with a concussion, though, and he remains under their observation.
  • Safety Corey Graham‘s one-year deal with the Eagles features a guaranteed $1MM base salary, a $400K signing bonus, $200K in per-game bonuses and $200K in incentives, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.
  • One of Graham’s teammates, 37-year-old punter Donnie Jones, would like to stay on the Eagles’ roster into his 40s, writes Paul Domowitch of Philly.com. “This is the only place I want to play,’’ said Jones, Philly’s oldest player. “I want to finish my career here. My goal is to play into my 40s. I’m getting closer. We’ll see.’’ Thanks to the three-year extension he signed last November, Jones is under contract through his age-39 season. In 2016, his fourth year as an Eagle, Jones finished 11th in average net yardage (40.7) and, in Football Outsiders’ view, was at the helm of the league’s 14th-best punting game.
  • The Panthers waived safety Dean Marlowe on Tuesday because he’s dealing with a torn hamstring, per Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Marlowe, who appeared in five Panthers games from 2015-16, will go on injured reserve if no one claims him on waivers.

East Notes: Forte, Gronk, Pats, Fins, Eagles

Before signing a three-year, $12MM deal with the Jets in free agency last March, running back Matt Forte also drew interest from the AFC East rival Patriots, he told Connor Hughes of NJ.com Wednesday. The Pats’ attempt to woo him came too late, however. “My agent told me they called. I asked if they talked about anything, and he said they just wanted me to come for a visit,” said Forte. “I said I’m already here about to sign, so, I didn’t feel like that would be right.”

Forte has been productive in his age-30 season (911 total yards, eight touchdowns), but the 3-7 Jets are out of playoff contention and the 8-2 Patriots are the division’s top team. Statistically, New England’s No. 1 back, bargain signing LeGarrette Blount, is having a better season on the ground than Forte. Blount has piled up 802 rushing yards (compared to Forte’s 732) to go with a slightly superior per-carry average (4.0 to 3.9) and 12 scores.

More from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is not expected to play Sunday against Forte’s Jets, per Dianna Russini of ESPN (Twitter link). Gronkowski suffered a perforated lung Nov. 13 in a loss to the Seahawks and missed the Patriots’ win over the 49ers last week as a result. The all-world weapon has sat out a total of three games this year, but New England hasn’t yet lost without him.
  • Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor admitted he’s fighting a “mental battle,” and head coach Doug Pederson won’t commit to playing him Monday against Green Bay, writes Tim McManus of ESPN.com. A reduced role for Agholor is a “real possibility,” Pederson said Wednesday, adding that Agholor has seen a sports psychologist recently. “Every team has them and I think it’s good, whether they’re going through stuff or not, to keep talking through some issues,” stated Pederson. Agholor hasn’t lived up to his first-round draft status on the field since going 20th overall in the 2015 draft. Plus, as of late October, he was under league investigation for an offseason rape accusation that didn’t lead to charges.
  • Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan practiced Wednesday for the first time in almost two years and “felt good,” but whether he’ll play this season is up in the air. “I don’t know,” Jordan told Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald. “It’s kind of hard to tell. It’s my health, man. It’s my body. If my body tells me I’m not ready to go out there and perform with the best athletes, I’m not going to put myself out there. The way everything’s been going, it’s been going well. I’ve got high hopes for myself to go out and compete before the season ends.” Jordan, whom the Dolphins chose third overall in the 2013 draft, has missed 32 of 58 regular-season games – 22 because of various suspensions – and has been out all of this year after undergoing two knee surgeries in the summer.
  • The Eagles signed special teamers Donnie Jones (punter), Chris Maragos (safety) and Jon Dorenbos (long snapper) to contract extensions last week. Details on the deals Jones and Maragos inked are now out, via Adam Caplan of ESPN (Twitter links): Jones’ three-year pact is worth $5.5MM ($1MM fully guaranteed) and maxes out at $5.8MM with Pro Bowl incentives. Maragos’ extension, also for three years, is worth $6MM ($2.25MM fully guaranteed) and carries a $6.3MM max with Pro Bowl incentives.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Eagles Sign Punter Donnie Jones To Extension

You get an extension! And you get an extension! And you get an extension! Donnie Jones (vertical)

The Eagles are on a mission to lock up their core special teams players. After extending safety Chris Maragos on Thursday afternoon and striking a three-year deal with long snapper Jon Dorenbos on Friday morning, the Eagles have also locked punter Donnie Jones up on a three-year pact. The team confirmed the deal via press release moments ago.

Jones is in his fourth season with the Eagles. So far this year, Jones has booted 38 punts for a net average of 39.7 yards. That’s a below-average mark in the NFL, but the Eagles are obviously happy with his work. He’s now slated to be a part of the team through 2019 with Dorenbos and Maragos. Kicker Caleb Sturgis got an extension of his own in September, but that deal only carries him through the 2017 season.

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NFC East Notes: Eagles, Cowboys, Elliott

At the age of 36, Eagles punter Donnie Jones might look more like a coach than a player. But, don’t tell him he’s too old for the job, CSNPhilly.com’s Dave Zingaro writes.

I sure don’t feel 36,” Jones said. “I know a lot of people see that [age] in the NFL and think, ‘He may only have one or two years left.’ Well, I say that’s a bunch of BS. Play as long as you want if you take care of yourself, keep being productive. And I’m going to continue to do it as long as I can.”

If Jones wants to play for several more seasons, there is precedent as there have been multiple punters over the years who played into their 40s. The question is, will the Eagles want to continue with him or move on to a different punter after this season? Jones is entering the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Eagles before the 2013 season. He has a base salary of $1.75MM in 2016 before his scheduled entry into the free agent market.

Here’s today’s look at the NFC East:

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/23/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Colts announced that they’ve signed second-round safety T.J. Green. Green, a Clemson product, was selected 57th overall in last month’s draft, and while he played safety in college, there’s been some chatter that he could be moved to corner in the NFL.

Earlier updates:

  • The Vikings have signed defensive tackle Travis Raciti and waived running back Brandon Ross, Matt Vensel of the Star-Tribune tweets. Raciti spent his first NFL season in Philadelphia on the club’s practice squad. The former San Jose State Spartan played in 49 games (45 starts) as a defensive tackle and twice earned all-conference honors.
  • The Eagles have signed defensive tackle Derrick Lott and released punter Ryan Quigley, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. With Quigley out of the picture, it would appear that Donnie Jones has won the team’s punter job. Lott was on Tampa Bay’s taxi squad in 2015 and will try to make the cut in Philly.
  • The Saints have waived long-snapper Chris Highland, who joined the team for his second stint earlier this month (Twitter link via Evan Woodbery of The Times Picayune).
  • Panthers tight end Jake McGee has reverted to injured reserve after being waived-injured, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle tweets. McGee began his career at Virginia but, thanks to graduate transfer rules, was able to finish up at Florida. In what would have been his first year at UF, he broke his left leg and spent the year rehabbing instead of playing. Last year, McGee caught 41 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns.