The Dallas Cowboys have finally created competition at their kicker position after struggling with inconsistency over the past two seasons.
For seven seasons, the Dallas Cowboys had a luxury most NFL teams only dream of. In Dan Bailey, they possessed one of the league’s most consistent and reliable kickers. Yet, when the Cowboys decided to move on from Bailey for a less expensive choice two years ago, they suffered as a result.
In 2018, the Cowboys shockingly decided to release Bailey during the team’s final roster cuts just before the start of the regular season. Dallas opted instead to go with an unproven 28-year old rookie kicker from the CFL in Brett Maher. Although Maher had a more powerful leg, setting the franchise record with a 63-yard field goal last year, his inaccuracy from a much shorter range was baffling.
Over his two seasons in Dallas, Maher would hit on 10 of his 15 field goal attempts from 50-yards or beyond. But from the 40-to-49 yard range, that percentage would drop to just eight makes on 16 tries. In fact, Maher missed four of his five field-goal attempts from the 40-49 range last season before being released by the Cowboys in early December.
Maher was replaced by 32-year old veteran Kai Forbath, who would promptly hit on all 10 of his field-goal attempts in the Cowboys’ final three regular-season games. The performance earned Forbath another season in Dallas, reportedly re-signing with the team earlier this month.
But now, Forbath will face some stiff competition for the gig. On Friday, it was reported that the Cowboys have agreed to sign Pro Bowl kicker Greg Zuerlein to a three-year, $7.5 million deal with $3.5 million guaranteed. That according to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer.
A Pro Bowler in 2017, Zuerlein is also 32-years old. But he’s coming off an injury-plagued season (foot, quad) with the Los Angeles Rams, hitting on just 24 of his 33 field goal attempts (72.7 percent) in 2019. Most of those misses coming from the dreaded 40-49 yard range (5 of 11).
The reported signings of Greg Zuerlein and Kai Forbath creates a real competition for the starting kicker role this summer. But the former Ram would seemingly have the leg up on the job over Forbath as Zuerlein’s special team coach in Los Angeles, John Fassel, now holds that same position with the Dallas Cowboys.