Friday, March 6, 2009
Eagles find Dawkins' replacement
ESPN.com news services
PHILADELPHIA -- Safety Sean Jones signed a one-year, $3 million free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, helping fill the void created by Brian Dawkins' departure.
A second-round pick by Cleveland in 2004, Jones played five seasons with the Browns. He was mostly used as a strong safety, but his playmaking skills make him a potential replacement for Dawkins at free safety. Jones may have to beat out second-year pro Quintin Demps for the spot.
Jones ranks third among safeties behind Baltimore's Ed Reed and St. Louis' Oshiomogho Atogwe with 14 interceptions since 2006. He had four picks in Cleveland's final six games last season. Jones missed four games after having surgery on his right knee, but played the last 11.
The 27-year-old Jones has recorded 286 tackles and three forced fumbles in 60 games, including 44 starts. That includes playing in all 16 games each of the past three seasons.
Jones, listed at 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, had his best season in '06 when he finished with 107½ tackles and five interceptions. He missed his entire first season because of knee surgery, but has been a starter ever since.
Jones has big shoes to fill in Philly. Dawkins was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection during 13 seasons with the Eagles and is likely headed for the Hall of Fame. He also was one of the most beloved athletes to ever play in this city. Fans were outraged when the Eagles allowed Dawkins to test free agency. He signed a two-year deal with Denver last week.
The Eagles reached the NFC championship game for the fifth time in eight years, losing at Arizona. They've signed two free agents, including former Cincinnati offensive lineman Stacy Andrews to a six-year contract.
Philadelphia has lost Dawkins, running back Correll Buckhalter (Denver) and safety Sean Considine (Jacksonville) in free agency. Tight end L.J. Smith and longtime bookend tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan are unrestricted free agents and are not expected to return.
Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard and wide receiver Greg Lewis also are gone. Sheppard was traded to the New York Jets for a pair of draft picks and Lewis was dealt to New England for a pick.
ESPN.com senior writer Len Pasquarelli contributed to this report.