Donnie Jones becomes third special teams player with contract extension in 24 hours
The Eagles proved their commitment to special teams by giving contract extensions to three of the team's core special teams players during a 24-hour span: Long snapper Jon Dorenbos, punter Donnie Jones, and Chris Maragos.
Maragos' deal was announced Thursday night. The team announced Dorenbos' and Jones' deal on Friday.
"It's a big part of what we're trying to do is have a really strong [special teams] unit," Eagles executive Howie Roseman said. "And also the individual guys we're talking about, the leadership they bring, the class that they exemplify on and off the field is so important for us. Really, just guys that as we're building this and trying to get some continuity, they were guys that we really sought here going forward."
Dorenbos, 36, has been with the Eagles since 2006 and is in his 14th NFL season. The Eagles signed undrafted rookie John DePalma to compete with Dorenbos during the summer, but the team opted for Dorenbos' experience _ and coach Doug Pederson welcomed the idea of having Dorenbos snapping for the next three years.
"It makes me sleep at night having a long snapper with his experience, Jon's experience, knowing that that operation will be around for the next few years," Pederson said.
Dorenbos became the longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia after the Phillies moved on from Ryan Howard. This contract now puts Eagles records within reach. He could pass David Akers' franchise-leading 188 regular season games played _ Dorenbos currently has 158 games in an Eagles uniform _ and he could match Chuck Bednarik's 14 seasons with the franchise.
"I'm not from Philly originally, [and] to come here, spend 11 years here, see what this community is like, what this fan base is like, and to see what the Eagles' logo means to a lot of people, and then to be that guy in that world is really cool," Dorenbos said. "I wouldn't want it on any other team."
After appearing on "America's Got Talent" during the summer, Dorenbos' popularity transcended football. He's well known for his magic and personality. Pederson said the Eagles didn't need to outbid Las Vegas for Dorenbos' services, and Dorenbos said he didn't consider leaving football for outside ventures.
"I invested a lot of time here," Dorenbos said. "I still think there are some things that are unfinished that I want to be a part of. I've had a great relationship with the front office and Howie and [owner Jeffrey Lurie], and when they come to you and say they want you to stick around, you shake their hand and say, `Hell yeah, man.' "
He also gets to continue playing with Jones and Maragos.
Jones, 36, is a 13-year pro who came to the Eagles in 2013. He holds franchise records for net average (40.3) and gross average (45.3) in his Eagles career. Jones is averaging 45.2 yards per punt this season.
Maragos leads the Eagles in special teams tackles this season, and he has a team-high 30 special teams tackles since arriving in 2014. He campaigned for special teams coordinator Dave Fipp on Friday, saying Fipp deserves head-coaching consideration from teams this offseason. He also singled out other players on the Eagles' special teams who deserve recognition: Trey Burton, Bryan Braman, and Najee Goode.
Matthews, Ertz questionable.
Wide receiver Jordan Matthews and tight end Zach Ertz are listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. Both players were full participants in Friday's practice session.
Matthews injured his back lifting weights on Tuesday. Ertz injured his hamstring during practice on Wednesday.
Even though Matthews practiced, the Eagles brought practice squad wide receiver Paul Turner on the trip to Seattle in case Matthews' back becomes a problem and the Eagles need to make a roster move.
Safety Terrence Brooks is out with a hamstring injury.
The contract extensions to the special teams players were good for the Eagles, but the big free agent looming remains defensive tackle Bennie Logan. Roseman would not comment on negotiations, but he said the Eagles want to keep Logan in Philadelphia.
"Bennie fits in that group as a fiber guy, a guy we drafted, great character, leadership, and a really good player," Roseman said. "We'd love to keep Bennie."