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Cowboys 2023 offseason position breakdown series: Special teams and final takes

A breakdown of the special team players on the Dallas Cowboys roster. The stats, the cap allocation and projections.

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Commanders Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

The Position Breakdown Series is taking every position group for the Dallas Cowboys and looking at the players, their rankings, contract numbers and predicting the upcoming season for each player.

This edition is looking at the specialists for Dallas, so let’s get straight to it.

Tristan Vizcaino #16
Age: 26
Experience: 2 years
College: Washington Huskies

2023 Contract:
Cap Cost- $940,000 (0.4% Total Cap)
Dead Cap- $0
Base Salary- $940,000
Signing Bonus- $0

Brandon Aubrey #6
Age: 28
Experience: Rookie
College: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

2023 Contract:
Cap Cost- $750,000 (0.3% Total Cap)
Dead Cap- $0
Base Salary- $750,000
Signing Bonus- $0

2023 Projection:

Tom - Well, this is the camp battle for now. Vizcaino is very inexperienced, but Aubrey’s only experience since high school was in the USFL. He played soccer in college for Notre Dame, giving him a unique path to be on the Dallas roster. You can read the full story here. His time with the Birmingham Stallions was good, and this looks like a competition to watch. But there may well be other kickers brought in, repeating the competition last season. Brett Maher did not win the job until the end of camp last year. Stay tuned!

Mike - The most important thing to do when you have an unknown with your kicker is to bring another to create a competition. Kicking is all about dealing with pressure and remaining focused, and having a guy in camp pressing you to do better is a nice way to get the best out of them. My guess is if both kickers are looking off-target or not making kicks with consistency, then wait for a third kicker to come in, more than likely a veteran.

Bryan Anger #5
Age: 34
Experience: 12 years
College: California Golden Bears

2022 Stats:
Snaps: 169
Punt Attempts: 76
Punt Yards: 3,667
Yards Per Punt: 48.3
Inside 20: 29
Touchbacks: 7
Fair Catches: 25
Penalties: 3

2023 Contract:
Cap Cost- $3,000,000 (1.3% Total Cap)
Dead Cap- $2,800,000
Base Salary- $2,200,000
Signing Bonus- $800,000

2023 Projection:

Tom - It’s nice to have this one all locked up. Anger is very reliable both at kicking from deep and pinning the other team inside the 20.

Mike - Last year, Anger was top-10 in punt yards (3,667), yards per punt (48.3), fair catches (25) and his 83-yard punt was the longest by any punter. He’s a solid punter and what he does by pinning teams back or forcing the opposition into long drives is very important. Expect much the same this year.

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Trent Sieg #47

2023 Contract:
Cap Cost- $1,092,500 (0.5% Total Cap)
Dead Cap- $402,500
Base Salary- $1,080,000
Signing Bonus- $152,500

2023 Projection:

Tom - A new face, he has a good résumé and should be fine.

Mike - Jake McQuaide and Matt Overton became free agents after the season ended, that meant the Cowboys needed a long snapper. The Las Vegas Raiders fans weren’t too happy about the team not retaining Sieg, that’s a positive sign about a player. He fills a much needed empty space on the roster, so he’s a pretty valuable and important signing for Dallas that went with very little coverage.

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Final thoughts on the overall roster

Biggest Overall Roster Position Concern:

Tom - It has to be the offensive line overall, because both the projected starting tackles, Tyron Smith and Terence Steele, are coming off injury, and it appears the plan is to move Tyler Smith from guard to tackle if one of them has issues. The depth behind the projected starters is very uncertain. It’s going to be a worry all year.

Mike - The tight end position. There’s a lot of unknowns with the position and whether players are ready to step up and take on more snaps, and with that comes more pressure. Very rarely do rookie tight ends explode on the scene as they take time to come to fruition. That doesn’t mean they aren’t talented. The way Dak likes to filter targets to his tight end players means they are an important group to him, and if this year’s group is failing to come up with the goods, then this could be the setback Dak wasn’t hoping for.

Most Confident Position:

Tom - Defensive end/EDGE. Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Sam Williams, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler, and rookie Viliami Fehoko. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! With a reinforced defensive tackle group (hoping for a strong rookie year from Mazi Smith, of course) it is going to be hard to stop this pass rush. You have to love it!

Mike - In total agreement here with Tom. The pass rushers for Dallas looking from top to bottom is maybe the best in the league. The only thing that concerns me is that the group is so deep and talented that the front office might use one or two edge players in a trade and diminish such a strong position.

Most Underrated Player:

Tom - I am torn between Donovan Wilson and Leighton Vander Esch. The team obviously thinks enough of Wilson to have re-signed him, but I still think most people don’t think of his impact as the enforcer of the defense. It is his steps that receivers are listening for. I’ll go with him.

Mike - For me this is Malik Hooker. He keeps everything in front of him and is always around the ball or receiver. He limits the deep ball and allows the defensive line time to get to the quarterbacks. His injury history got him cut, but that talent we saw from while at Ohio State is undeniable. One of the best signings the Cowboys have made in recent years at a position this team never put much stock in.

Breakout Watch:

Tom - I’m going to shade this a bit as the player I would most like to breakout and choose Jalen Tolbert. Micheal Gallup is another player with some injury concerns, never looking 100% last year, and WR4 is usually called on to start at some point in the season. If Tolbert can claim that job with his performance, it would greatly solidify a receiver group that has already been boosted by the addition of Brandin Cooks.

Mike - This one has come up a few times now and I answer it always the same way, Sam Williams. On limited snaps last year he was impressive and put up solid production. Giving the guy more snaps and more opportunities will only result in even bigger numbers. With DeMarcus Lawrence getting older the team needs it’s next prodigy for the position and it could be Williams. Very exciting times.

Most Worrying Player:

Tom - I’m going to hold my breath on every snap Tyron Smith takes. I believe he is a future Hall of Famer, but his body has taken a beating over his now lengthy career, always missing some games for years now. And with the depth concerns, it just seems inevitable someone is going to have to fill in for him.

Mike - Staying with the defensive theme on my answers I will say Neville Gallimore. He was graded as one of the worst defensive tackles last year and since he’s been in Dallas he’s struggled. His saving grace has been how the team has utilized him, so maybe if they change his role that could turn results. But I fear this year is his last year, especially if we see another season with a lack of production from him.

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