The Dallas Cowboys have a problem at kicker.
One year ago this was hardly the case. Sure, Dan Bailey was coming off of a 2017 season where he struggled near the end, but he was Dan Bailey. All was going to be well.
This obviously wasn’t the case as the Cowboys cut Bailey during 53-man roster trim downs and decided to roll the dice with 28-year-old rookie Brett Maher. To his credit, Maher produced game-winning kicks against the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons last season, but he missed a crucial kick on the road in Washington as well.
That’s kind of who Maher is, to be honest. He’s a shaky kicker with some great moments. What’s particularly troubling these days though is that almost two weeks into training camp there is a clear and noticeable thing to his kicks... he misses short ones.
Brett Maher was 5-of-6 during field goal period. His miss was from short range. 33-35 yards, give or take.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) August 6, 2019
It’s a trend.
Last season the Cowboys played 13 games that were decided by one possession (they were 9-4 in such contests). Scoff if you want to, but who your kicker is is extremely important. It’s why I petitioned many moons ago to take Dan Bailey off of kickoff duties, to preserve the boot that scored the points.
It’s not like the Cowboys have an enormous amount invested in Brett Maher (this is said with the utmost respect for him). On a team where Jason Garrett’s next-man-up philosophy is constantly preached you would have to imagine that somehow the team would expect more from him, and I don’t mean just the challenging Kasey Redfern.
“What kickers are even available right now?”
Should the Cowboys look to bring in veteran help at the kicker position there is one name that people are going to flock to... Matt Bryant
Bryant has been a successful kicker in the NFL for a long time and at the very least right now would provide a push for Maher to compete against. He’s not the only free agent, though. There are other names that might make you stroke your chin:
- Cody Parkey
- Mike Nugent
- Kai Forbath
- Nick Rose
You’ll remember that Nugent was signed while Bailey was injured during the middle part of the 2017 season, so he’s kicked for the Cowboys somewhat recently. Cody Parkey’s last kick in the NFL has left people with a sour taste in their mouths, but Nick Rose is a name that we’ve seen recently, too.
Rose kicked for the San Antonio Commanders in the Alliance of American Football and was actually signed to the Los Angeles Chargers for their divisional round playoff game against the New England Patriots. He’s a name worth considering, but so are all of these with Brett Maher struggling.
Kickers matter. This is a league where games come down to the wire. Hopefully the Cowboys have a plan in place because right now things look to be a bit rocky.