Kicker Tristan Vizcaino never took a snap for the Cowboys last season, but he will get a chance to compete for the job in 2023. Dallas re-signed Vizcaino yesterday, leaving the future of Brett Maher even more in doubt.
After Maher’s atrocious night against Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs, missing four extra-point attempts, Dallas added Vizcaino to their practice squad in a preemptive move for the next game against the 49ers. Maher did enough that week to remain the kicker against San Francisco, but his postseason malaise seemingly undermined a Pro Bowl-worthy season.
After the Cowboys’ playoff exit, Jerry Jones told the media that the team was “starting over” at kicker. While that’s primarily been interpreted that Maher’s time was over, it could simply mean that Dallas is going to reopen the competition and that Maher may still be one of the contenders.
Barring any earlier move to release him, Maher’s contract expires on March 15th. Whether or not he still has enough friends here to get a new one remains to be seen. Before the playoffs, Maher made 90.6% of his field goals and went 9-of-11 from 50 yards or more. It was one of the best years for a kicker in franchise history.
Whatever happens with him, Tristan Vizcaino did enough in his one week on Dallas’ practice squad to earn further consideration. An undrafted free agent in 2018, Vizcaino’s been around the block with stints on the Bengals, 49ers, Vikings, Chargers, Bills, Cardinals, and Patriots rosters. He’s mostly been a backup, attempting just 12 field goals so far in the NFL but at least making 11 of them.
Vizcaino also doubled as a punter during his college career at the University of Washington, which is a nice side trait for roster value.
If this offseason and training camp go anything like last year’s, the Cowboys’ kicker in 2023 may not be either of these guys. As you’ll recall, Dallas went into camp with rookie Jonathan Garibay and veteran Lirim Hajrullahu competing for the job. When neither inspired confidence, the Cowboys went back to a familiar face and signed Maher just a few weeks before the start of the season.
Who knows what the future holds at the kicker position? For now, Tristan Vizcaino is the only one under contract for 2023. But John Fassel may have some other guys on his radar, both in free agency and the upcoming draft. As for Brett Maher, even now, dismissing him completely would still be a bold presumption.