Durable defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina, a blue-collar performer whose work ethic has allowed him to outlast more talented players in the NFL, has signed a two-year contract with the Houston Texans, the seventh different franchise for which he will have played.
The contract totals slightly more than $2 million and includes a signing bonus of $250,000.
A 14-year veteran, Zgonina played the past four seasons for the Miami Dolphins. Despite his age and tenure, Zgonina, 36, drew solid interest in free agency, even in a market that has been very slow for defensive tackles.
Surprisingly, it has been middle-tier tackles such as Zgonina, and not the higher profile players available at the position, who have proven attractive to teams seeking help at the position. The Texans' coaches focused in on Zgonina a few days ago and completed the deal on Wednesday morning.
Zgonina should be a good fit with the Texans, whose depth chart is thin and features a mix of younger players who have yet to fulfill their potential and older veterans.
In 171 games, including 62 starts, Zgonina has 540 tackles, 23½ sacks, three forced fumbles, eight recoveries, one interception and 10 passes defensed. He has recorded 30 or more tackles in each of the past eight seasons, despite playing primarily as a No. 3 tackle. In 2004, Zgonina did start 14 games for the Dolphins and he registered career highs in tackles (101) and sacks (five).
Originally a seventh-round choice of the Steelers in the 1993 draft, the former Purdue standout has played with Pittsburgh (1993-94), Carolina (1995). Atlanta (1996), St. Louis (1997, 1999-2002) Indianapolis (1998) and Miami (2003-2006).