Could Cowboys special teams coach chase star ex-pupil in free agency?
With Greg Zuerlein getting released and Bryan Anger expected to leave Dallas for a bigger contract in free agency, the Dallas Cowboys are going to need some serious special teams help. We all know that special teams coordinator John Fassel likes to work with players he has in the past. Zuerlein played for Fassel at the Rams and recently re-signed long snapper Jake McQuaide did as well.
Now, the Cowboys may have an opportunity to replace Pro Bowl punter Bryan Anger with another former Fassel favorite.
Pat McAfee was the first to report that Rams punter Johnny Hekker is set to be released from the team. Hekker is a four-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro, and a Super Bowl champion. He has played his entire 10-year career with the Rams both in St. Louis and Los Angeles.
While Hekker has certainly made a name for himself, the Rams’ decision to leave him behind isn’t surprising. The 32-year-old had his worst season as a pro in 2021. He had career lows in both longest punt (59 yards) and yards per punt (44.2 yards). Until now, Hekker was the longest-tenured player in the Rams franchise.
If Fassel does help bring Hekker to the Cowboys, we can only hope it doesn’t turn out the way it did with former teammate Greg the Leg. Zuerlein had some incredible years with the Rams but ended up as a big-time boom or bust player for Dallas. Regardless, if Anger is searching for more money than Dallas is willing to pay him after a franchise record-breaking season, Dallas will need a punter.
The Rams are reportedly letting punter Johnny Hekker walk, which opens the door for John Fassel and the Cowboys
Given his age and his dismal year, the Cowboys can hopefully get Hekker at a bargain price. Hekker has a 46.7-yard career average for his punts and has certainly had highlight moments throughout his NFL career. The Ram is also known for his trick plays, as he is 14-for-23 in passing with 186 throwing yards and a touchdown to his record.
Special teams is often a unit that gets ignored. But, as they say, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. The Cowboys need to make sure that they figure out solid starters at punter and kicker before the 2022 season. The team technically has Hunter Niswander on the roster, but do they trust him enough to be the starting kicker or punter? Finding a solid guy at both positions is crucial. If not, a lot of missed points will remain off the board once again.