The Cowboys have been holding a competition for their kicker position between undrafted rookie Jonathan Garibay and Lirim Hajrullahu. So far through training camp, Hajrullahu has been the clear frontrunner, but neither kicker showed anything to give the team confidence. That led to the team bringing in four kickers for a tryout Tuesday morning, and it ended with the signing of the one name most familiar to fans.
Cowboys are signing kicker Brett Maher following today’s workout, two people familiar with decision said. Rookie Jonathan Garibay is being waived. Lirim Hajrullahu on field now. He’ll be team’s only kicker in practice today.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 9, 2022
New kicker competition: Hajrullahu vs. Maher.
Brett Maher was the Cowboys’ kicker for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, beating out Dan Bailey in a surprise decision after the 2018 preseason. Maher finished his first year in Dallas having made 29 of his 36 (80.6%) field goal attempts and making all but one of his 33 extra points. Maher’s accuracy dropped in 2019, hitting just 20 of his 30 field goal attempts before being replaced by Kai Forbath towards the end of the year.
Maher’s time in Dallas was a mixed bag that turned sour quickly. He gained some early appreciation for his strong leg, hitting several kicks of 60 yards or more, but struggled to make kicks consistently. In 2019, he made just one of five attempts between 40 and 49 yards.
Maher spent eight games kicking for the Saints last season after their starting kicker went down with an injury. He hit on 16 of his 18 field goal attempts, easily setting a career best 88.9% conversion rate. However, Maher missed his only attempt beyond 50 yards and hit on just 10 of his 12 extra point attempts.
Maher’s reunion with the Cowboys meant that Garibay was waived to fill a spot, ending what was once seen as the most likely undrafted rookie to make the roster this year. Like Maher, Garibay was known for his powerful leg but struggled to make kicks consistently in training camp.
Notably, Maher was released from the Cowboys prior to the current coaching staff (save for a few individual coaches) arriving. Neither Mike McCarthy or John Fassel coached Maher when he last played for Dallas, making this a fresh start of sorts for the kicker. He’ll still need to compete with Hajrullahu, who already has a small lead in the kicking competition.