PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles got their safety quickly.
The Eagles and former New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins agreed on a three-year contract Tuesday, shortly after NFL free agency began. It's worth $16.25 million, including $8.5 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team didn't announce terms.
"Malcolm is someone we've had our eye on for quite a while," general manager Howie Roseman said. "He has been a productive player his entire football career, both in New Orleans and at Ohio State. Everything you hear about Malcolm as a person is true. He was a two-time defensive captain with the Saints and is a high-character player. We are excited to add a guy like that to the culture we have established here."
The move came shortly after veteran safety Patrick Chung was released. The Eagles also agreed to a three-year deal with punter Donnie Jones.
Jenkins, the 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft, started 63 games in five seasons with the Saints. He fills a major need for the NFC East champions, and should bolster a pass defence that was the worst in the NFL last year.
The Eagles have had a revolving door at safety for a few years since former All-Pro Brian Dawkins left Philadelphia. Jenkins had 48 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 14 games last year, helping the Saints finish second against the pass.
"We really liked Malcolm's versatility," coach Chip Kelly said. "He can line up at either safety spot, can come in and make a tackle and can play man-to-man as well. I had a chance to study him on tape leading up to the playoff game and really liked what I saw. He's a sharp kid and is ultra-competitive. We are really happy to have him in Philadelphia."
The Eagles lost to the Saints in a first-round playoff game in Philadelphia.
Jenkins has 358 career tackles, six interceptions, six forced fumbles and 4 1/2 sacks.
"Very excited about being a part of the (at)Eagles organization! I loved every minute I spent in New Orleans but all good things come to an end," Jenkins wrote on Twitter.
Jenkins becomes the third safety on Philadelphia's roster, joining Earl Wolff and Keelan Johnson. The Eagles haven't re-signed Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman or Colt Anderson.
Jarius Byrd and T.J. Ward were considered the top safeties available, but the team felt Jenkins is a better fit for its 3-4 defence.
Keeping Jones was a priority for special teams. Jones set team records with 33 punts inside the 20 and a net average of 40.5 in his first season in Philadelphia last year.
"Donnie proved he was a great weapon for us last year," Kelly said. "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."