Eagles add two special-teams performers

Linebacker Bryan Braman. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)
Linebacker Bryan Braman. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)
Posted: March 14, 2014

On the second day of free agency, the Eagles focused their attention on special teams.

They made it a priority Wednesday to sign two players whose primary roles are as special-teams performers: safety Chris Maragos from the Seahawks and linebacker Bryan Braman from the Texans.

Maragos, 27, agreed to a three-year contract worth $4 million ($1 million guaranteed), according to a league source. Braman, who will turn 27 in May, agreed to a two-year deal worth $3.15 million ($1 million guaranteed). The moves came one day after the Eagles locked up punter Donnie Jones.

"I think [Chip] Kelly really values special teams," Jones said. "You see that with these signings. . . . It's just a very important part of the game. He's trying to really make additions that are going to make this football team successful on special teams."

At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, Maragos has carved out a career as a core special-teams player. The former Wisconsin player went undrafted and signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2010. Maragos has played 46 career games, including all 16 games with the Super Bowl champions last season. He played 53 defensive snaps last season with Seattle, backing up the best safety duo in the NFL.

Maragos' signing likely spells the end of the line for Colt Anderson and Kurt Coleman with the Eagles. The team will have four safeties under contract: Malcolm Jenkins, Earl Wolff, Keelan Johnson, and Maragos. The Eagles carried as many as six last season.

Braman, who is 6-foot-5 and 241 pounds, spent the last three seasons with the Texans and was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2012. He arrived in Houston as an undrafted free agent after he was dismissed from West Texas A&M. (Braman pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of psilocybe mushrooms, a hallucinogen.)

Braman also worked for Abercrombie & Fitch in Los Angeles, modeled, attended casting calls, and was a bouncer before becoming a productive NFL player. He becomes the Eagles' seventh Texans import.

"He's a war daddy," said Jones, who was Braman's teammate in 2012. "When I think special teams and I think special teamer, I think Bryan Braman."

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman lauded Braman's toughness, and Braman once made a tackle after losing his helmet. The Eagles have uncertainty at backup linebacker, and Braman is expected to help. The team believes Braman can develop on defense, but it's clear that his value comes on special teams.

"You don't find many players of Bryan's size with the ability to run down the field and make plays on special teams," Kelly said in a statement. "It's an area of the game that we always have our eye on and look to improve."


zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

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