Dallas Cowboys: Has kicker Brett Maher started to crack?
After replacing the most accurate kicker in NFL history on the Dallas Cowboys roster, has Brett Maher started to crack under the pressure?
The Dallas Cowboys made a very controversial move this offseason. During final cuts, Dan Bailey was released after an impressive seven-year career in Dallas where he was considered the league’s most accurate kicker for the majority of his time as a Cowboy.
Unfortunately for Bailey, he suffered a groin injury in 2017 that sidelined him for four games in the middle of the season. When he returned, the Pro Bowl kicker missed four of his 13 field goal attempts. Bailey also missed on two extra point attempts, the first of his entire career.
During the offseason, there was no apparent competition between Bailey and 28-year old rookie kicker Brett Maher. Most figured the Cowboys veteran had earned himself a chance to prove he could bounce back from injury as one of the team’s most consistent scorers.
But Maher impressed throughout training camp. And a 57-yard field goal he nailed in the Cowboys final preseason game against the Houston Texans appeared to convince Dallas they could move on from Bailey and his $3.4 million salary this season.
It was an auspicious start for Maher, who missed his first field goal attempt in a Week One loss to the Carolina Panthers. He then went on a five-game streak where he made everything, going a perfect 15 of 15 in field goal attempts. Maher is still a perfect 17 of 17 on extra point attempts.
But Maher has hit a wall in the past three games. He’s missed three of his last six field goal attempts. And against the Philadelphia Eagles last week, Maher shorted his kickoffs despite being asked to kick them out of the endzone.
This is a disturbing trend for the rookie Brett Maher. And one that has some wondering whether the Dallas Cowboys might start looking for another kicker in free agency soon.
A possible name to watch would be 36-year old Mike Nugent, who went 7 for 9 on field goal attempts and a perfect 8 of 8 on extra points as a replacement for Bailey in Dallas last season. Nugent is currently on Injured Reserve with the Oakland Raiders due to a hip injury. If healthy, he could be back on the open market soon if the Raiders decide to release him with an injury settlement.