Eagles release LB Jones with two years on contract

Updated: April 30, 2007, 3:11 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Suddenly overstocked at linebacker, the Philadelphia Eagles whittled down the depth chart a bit on Monday afternoon by releasing Dhani Jones, who started 31 games the past two seasons.

Linebacker
Philadelphia Eagles

Profile
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Solo Ast FF Sack Int
76 56 20 0 1 0

A seven-year veteran, Jones was made expendable by offseason acquisitions via trades and the draft. Jones, 29, immediately becomes an unrestricted free agent and able to sign with another team.

The Eagles added two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Takeo Spikes in a March trade with Buffalo and then selected highly-regarded Stewart Bradley of Nebraska in the third round of the weekend draft. Philadelphia also has three young veteran linebackers -- Matt McCoy, Omar Gaither and Chris Gocong -- for whom defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is trying to carve out playing time in 2007.

Johnson said over the weekend that Gocong, a third-round choice in 2006 who spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, currently tops the depth chart at strongside linebacker. But Spikes could also play there as Johnson determines who will ultimately flank four-time Pro Bowl defender Jeremiah Trotter, the presumptive starter at the middle linebacker spot.

Clearly, the Eagles are revamping their linebacker corps, an area of deficiency in 2006, and Jones no longer fits into the plans.

Jones signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Eagles in 2004. In three seasons, he posted 288 tackles, including 93 in 2006, when he started 15 games.

The former University of Michigan defender began his career with the New York Giants as a sixth-round pick in 2000. He played four seasons in New York before moving to the Eagles. For his career, Jones has 557 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions and 20 passes defensed. He has appeared in 95 games and started in 77 of them.

Jones had two seasons remaining on his Philadelphia contract, with base salaries of $2.35 million for 2007 and $2.6 million in 2008.

The Eagles also announced the signings of 11 undrafted free agents on Monday.

Among the notable additions are Alabama defensive tackle Jeremy Clark, a four-year starter in college; Iowa safety Marcus Paschal, a second-team All-Big 10 performer last year; and defensive end Marques Murrell, a two-time Division I-AA All-American at Appalachian State.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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