Eagles sign Mat McBriar


The Eagles have poached a punter from a division rival.

Mat McBriar, a two-time Pro Bowler, has agreed to terms with the Eagles.  The team announced the move Wednesday morning.

McBriar took part in a four-punter Gong Show tryout on Monday in Philly, which included Brad Maynard, Chris Bryan, and Jason Baker.  McBriar was due to work out on Tuesday in Dallas.

Though he hit the market in March, McBriar has been recovering from surgery to remove a cyst from his knee.

In 2006, McBriar became the first punter to average more than 48 yards per punt since 1963.  He made the Pro Bowl that year and in 2010, when he averaged 47.9 yards per punt.

The addition of McBriar, 33, puts the Eagles temporarily at 91 players.  They’ll have to clear a roster spot by 4:00 p.m. ET Wednesday.

One guy who may not be sweating out the day but who now may be more nervous is incumbent punter Chas Henry.

Henry’s got to improve,” Eagles special-teams coordinator Bobby April said Tuesday, via NJ.com.  “He has to do a better job of pushing [the opponent’s] line of scrimmage a lot further away from our goal line.”

April also pointed out that, with the number of close games the team played in 2011, “had we been dominant on special [teams], maybe that could have been the difference and we’d have won some of those games.”

It doesn’t mean McBriar will supplant Henry.  April chalks up Henry’s performance in 2011 to a belief that rookie punters always struggle.  “The only two things I can think of is that the pro ball is harder to kick and they have to get the punts off faster,” April said.

Henry will be off the roster fast if he can’t get the ball off faster, and if he can’t kick it farther.