The San Francisco 49ers have added another free agent. The team announced the signing of defensive back Don Jones to a two-year deal.
Jones is entering his fifth season after playing 56 games through his first four seasons. He is almost exclusively a special teams player, registering 37 special teams tackles and one forced fumble on special teams during that time. In 2016, he played in nine games for the Houston Texans and tied for the team lead with 11 special teams tackles.
This marks the second special teams specific signing, following Brock Coyle earlier in the day. Coyle spent his first three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Whenever a new coaching staff comes in, it usually means we get to see a new wave of special teams players. This likely marks the end of the Nick Bellore and Michael Wilhoite eras. Both got starting work as inside linebackers because of injuries to others, but were primarily special teams guys.
Here’s a rundown of Jones’ past four years, courtesy of 49ers PR.
Jones was originally drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the seventh round (250th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. After registering 11 special teams tackles as a rookie in 2013, he was waived on August 31, 2014 and claimed off waivers by the New England Patriots on September 1, 2014. He played in 9 games with the Patriots before being waived on November 27, 2014, and was claimed off waivers by the Dolphins the following day. In 2014, Jones played in 13 total games (nine with New England and four with Miami) and registered 11 special teams tackles. In 2015, Jones split time with the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns and finished with four special teams tackles. Last season, he played in four games with the Browns before being released on October 4. Jones later signed with the Houston Texans on October 19 and appeared in the final nine games of the regular season and both postseason contests.
A 26-year-old native of Town Creek, AL, Jones played collegiately at Arkansas State University for three seasons (2009, 2011-12) in addition to one season (2010) at Mississippi Gulf Coast (Perkinston, MS) Community College. As a senior at Arkansas State, Jones registered 74 tackles and one interception.