The 2023 Dallas Cowboys are a championship-caliber team. Dallas has a top-five offense in football, led by a top-10 quarterback and wideout, and has a ferocious defense that only got better this offseason after giving up the fifth-fewest points per game in the league last year.
The 2023 Cowboys may be the best group they have had in Dallas since the loaded 2007 unit, and the team has all they need to make a deep postseason run, except for one thing.
A reliable kicker.
Ever since Dan Bailey walked out the door, the kicker spot has been a revolving door in Dallas. Last season, the team made the decision to bring back ex-Cowboy Brett Maher for his second stint as the kicker in Big D. To the surprise of many, Maher was excellent during the regular season. The Nebraska product made 29 of his 32 field goal attempts, including going 9-of-11 from 60+. Things were going great for Maher and the Cowboys, until Dallas’ Wild Card Round matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In that game, things went about as well as they could for the Cowboys as a team, and about as bad as they could for Maher as an individual player. Maher ended up missing four of his five extra-point attempts on the day, becoming the first player in NFL history to miss four extra points in a playoff game. The following week against the 49ers, Maher missed another extra point, but did convert his two field goal attempts.
As good as Maher was in the regular season, it seems like there’s no realistic scenario in which bringing him back makes sense to either side. If Dallas was to bring him back, and Maher missed an extra point in Week 1 or Week 2, the theoretical world would come to an end. It would be hard for any kicker to survive in that environment.
With Maher as good as gone, Dallas will either have to roll with 26-year-old Tristan Vizcaino, who has attempted just 12 kicks during his NFL career, or go out and try to sign a veteran who is still on the open market. Vizcaino may end up having a nice NFL career, but with the amount of talent the Cowboys have in their roster, they would be foolish to not go out and pursue a proven, veteran kicker.
Thankfully for the Cowboys, one of the better ones to ever do it is still on the market. That guy is 40-year-old Robbie Gould. Gould was with the 49ers for the past five seasons and saw plenty of high-leverage kicking situations. While he wasn’t always automatic during the regular season, he was when it mattered most.
Over the course of his eighteen-year NFL career, Gould has never missed a playoff field goal attempt in 29 tries. Yes, you read that right, he’s never missed, not once. Last season, Gould was a perfect eight-for-eight in the postseason and his ability to convert kicks played a giant factor in the 49ers beating the Cowboys in the divisional round.
Gould said as recently as a month ago that he is looking to go to a “winning’ team” and the Cowboys present the perfect opportunity for that. The Cowboys still have a little over $14M available in cap space, giving them plenty of room to offer Gould a one-to-two-year deal worth $5-6M annually.
If the 2023 Dallas Cowboys were a puzzle, they’d be missing one final piece. Robbie Gould would fit perfectly in Dallas, and he’d fill that missing piece as well as any kicker in the league.