The Dallas Cowboys were unafraid to move on from kicker Dan Bailey last season. Could they do the same to his replacement, Brett Maher, in 2019?
The most shocking release during the Dallas Cowboys final roster cuts just prior to the start of the regular season was undoubtedly that of longtime veteran Dan Bailey. Maybe even more surprising was his replacement, a 28-year old rookie kicker from the Canadian Football League (CFL), Brett Maher.
The Cowboys’ faith in Maher seemed immediately misplaced when the rookie kicker missed his lone field goal attempt in a Week One loss to the Carolina Panthers. Six weeks later, another missed field goal was the difference in a 20-17 loss to the Washington Redskins.
Maher would finish the season hitting on 29 of his total 36 field goal attempts. His 80.6 percentage of field goals made ranked him 25th among his peers in 2018. Maher went 13 of 19 from 30 to 49 yards out. But he also made six of his seven attempts at the 50-yard line or beyond, which was tied for the most in the NFL last season. Maher also only missed one extra point out of his 33 tries.
Although Maher certainly has the leg to boom kicks further than most, his accuracy between the 30-yard mark out to the 49 is a major concern. So much so, many believed Dallas would bring in some major competition for the job this summer. But as we approach minicamp, it appeared that the Cowboys hadn’t done that. Now, that assumption appears to be wrong.
According to longtime DallasCowboys.com columnist Mickey Spagnola, a new kicker has been impressing early during OTAs. And it’s punter Kasey Redfern. Here’s what Spagnola told the Talkin’ Cowboys podcast audience this week about Redfern also kicking field goals.
"“This past OTA that we got to watch, did you see who made all the field goals … Kasey Redfern. So are they creating competition? … After he got rid of his first two punts, he was skying, the building almost wasn’t big enough for his punts. But he hit from fifty and he hit his two when they were doing the play it out at the end of the practice. And one was from fifty.”"
In Dallas, Redfern joins his sixth NFL team since going undrafted in 2014 out of Wofford. Despite bouncing around the league, the 27-year old punter/kicker only has one regular season game of experience under his belt. That was in 2017 when Redfern was replacing injured Sam Martin for the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately, he suffered devastating knee injury that instantly ended his debut and his season.
Nearly two years later, Kasey Redfern has a real chance to crack the Dallas Cowboys’ roster. Punter Chris Jones is in the midst of a four-year, $8.7 million contract extension he signed back in 2017. If Redfern is as impressive as Spagnola is describing, the Cowboys could opt for a cheaper option. As for Brett Maher, Dallas might elect to keep the big-legged kicker for long-distance field goals attempts, extra points, and kickoffs. Redfern could be the answer for the 30-49 yard woes. Regardless, it’s a position battle worth watching in the coming months.