The Philadelphia Eagles today announced they have agreed to terms with punter Donnie Jones on a three-year contract. The team has also released safety Patrick Chung.
"Donnie proved he was a great weapon for us last year," said head coach Chip Kelly. "He had a really good season for us. I like the fact that we continued our trend of re-signing our core players. He's a good teammate and a player we prioritized during this free agency process." One of the most prolific punters in NFL history, Jones enjoyed one of the most impressive seasons by any punter in Eagles history in 2013, setting team records in single-season net punting average (40.4 yards per punt) and punts inside the 20-yard line (33), while ranking third in franchise history in single-season gross punting average (44.9). Jones also became just the fourth punter in NFL history to win NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in consecutive games in a single season and first since 1999 for his play against Washington (11/17) and Arizona (12/1).
"Donnie was tremendous for us last year and had one of the best seasons I have seen by a punter," said general manager Howie Roseman. "What you love about Donnie is his consistency and he's always working to perfect his craft. He's a great fit in our locker room and he's another guy we wanted to make sure we brought back."
Against Washington, Jones, 33, became just the second Philadelphia punter (Sean Landeta, 2001) to earn NFC Special Teams POW honors after he set an Eagles single-game record with a 50.7 net average, including a 70-yard punt late in the fourth quarter to pin the Redskins at their own four-yard line to start their final drive of the contest. In the next game, Jones landed a career-best seven punts inside the 20-yard line against the Cardinals, setting a team record and tying the third-highest total in the NFL since the stat became official in 1976.
A two-time All-Pro selection, Jones ranks seventh in NFL history in gross punting average (45.5) and net punting average (39.2) and is one of only seven players in league history to record a gross average of 50 or higher in a season, accomplishing the feat in 2008 with St. Louis with an average of 50.0.
Prior to joining the Eagles, Jones set Texans team records with a gross average of 47.2 yards and a net of 40.5 yards during his lone season with Houston in 2012. Jones joined the Texans after a five-year stint with the St. Louis Rams, where he set franchise highs in punts, gross average and net average.
The veteran left-footer was originally a seventh-round draft choice of the Seahawks in 2004 and appeared in six games with Seattle during his rookie campaign. Jones spent the following two seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2005-06) and set a Dolphins single-season record with an NFL-leading 39.3-yard net average in 2005.
A native of Baton Rouge, LA, Jones was a four-year letterman at LSU where he established a school record in punts (233). He and his wife, Aubrie, have a son, Weston, and a daughter, Addison.
Chung, 26, appeared in 12 games for the Eagles in 2013, recording 56 tackles and seven passes defensed.