Philadelphia Eagles Sign Pro Bowl Punter Mat McBriar

Alexander OnushcoContributor IIIJuly 25, 2012

IRVING, TX - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL,  Mat McBriar of the Dallas Cowboys poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

It may not be the biggest move of the offseason, but signing former Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar is a big win for the Philadelphia Eagles (via

McBriar, who was twice awarded Pro Bowl honors in his time with the Dallas Cowboys, came in to work out for the Eagles on Monday and the team apparently liked what they saw. They did well to sign him, as McBriar was also in the mix to re-sign with the Cowboys.

Now signed, McBriar will come in and immediately provide competition for incumbent starter Chas Henry.  Henry, who started as an undrafted rookie last year, was rather underwhelming in his debut season. 

On the surface, the McBriar signing is a no-brainer for the Philadelphia Eagles, who were poor all-around on special teams last season. Compared to Henry’s average of 42.9 yards per punt, McBriar is a refreshing upgrade with a 45.3 yard average. He should be able to work his way into the starting role before training camp wraps up.

Where McBriar falls a little short compared to Henry is in his age and health. At 33, McBriar has quite a few years on Henry. However, age isn’t as much of a concern for punters and kickers, who can play well into their late 30s. 

McBriar had an underwhelming season in 2011, but this was largely due to a cyst behind his plant (left) leg. The Eagles seemed convinced he was fully healthy after his workout, so the issue should not be a concern moving forward.

This signing marks the latest effort by the Eagles to improve their overall special teams play. Not only do they have a budding star in kicker Alex Henery, but they also did well to bring in punt and kick return specialists such as wide receiver Damaris Johnson and cornerbacks Cliff Harris and Brandon Boykin.

With the McBriar signing, the Eagles proved they are serious about upgrading their special teams.

The special teams unit now has a chance to actually be special.