Cowboys bring back K Brett Maher, waive his potential competitor
The Dallas Cowboys signed UDFA kicker Jonathan Garibay out of Texas Tech with incredibly high hopes. The job was all but his to lose. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened.
The coaching staff gave the former Red Raider a solid two weeks of camp to improve his inconsistent field goal kicking, and he didn’t. According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, the rookie made only 34 of 57 kicks in camp. That’s a 59.6% success rate. His veteran competition, Lirim Hajrullahu, made 42 of 56 (75%).
So, the Cowboys brought in reinforcements on Tuesday morning, albeit subpar ones. Matt Ammendola, Cole Murphy, J.J. Molson, and former (not-so-loved) Cowboy Brett Maher all came in for a tryout in Oxnard. Many fans were up in arms about the choice to bring in Maher, who was miraculously less accurate than Greg Zuerlein was in 2021 back in 2019.
To be fair, none of the available kicker options left at this point are good. These four certainly didn’t spark any excitement.
Despite the displeasure from Cowboys Nation, the front office and coaching staff announced early Tuesday afternoon that they would be signing Maher and waiving Garibay. Maher will now compete with Hajrullahu for the job.
Cowboys are signing former kicker Brett Maher and waiving UDFA Jonathan Garibay
The 32-year-old was once a UDFA himself. He originally signed with the New York Jets but eventually spent three years in the CFL before coming back to the NFL with the Cleveland Browns in 2017.
Maher played 29 games for the Cowboys in 2018 and 2019. The bad news is he missed at least one kick (field goal or extra-point attempt) in 16 of them. That means he missed a kick in 55% of his games, which makes Zuerlein’s frustrating 2021 look not so bad. His overall percentage in 2019 was a dismal 66.7%.
The good news is he did hit game-winners and set a franchise record with a 62-yard field goal in 2018. Plus, he did improve a bit with the New Orleans Saints last season. In 2021, he went 16-for-18 on field goal attempts after not playing at all in 2020.
Cowboys fans probably will not let the front office live this one down unless Maher somehow has a breakout, comeback year. While he certainly left a bitter taste in 2019, the reality is that this fan base needs Maher to do well for the sake of the team. Entering the 2022 season without a kicker is not what the Cowboys need.